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Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Apr;5(2):113-8.

Genetics and the occupational environment.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Hygiene and Occupational Medicine, Ferrara, Italy.



This article will focus on the role of risk factors including genetic factors in the development of sensitization and occupational asthma.


We will review the recent literature published on the genetics of occupational asthma, especially on genes coding for class II human leukocyte antigen and on respiratory antioxidant mechanisms. We will also discuss published work on non-occupational asthma and on allergic rhinitis because this information may contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in occupational asthma and serve to confirm data obtained on the disease. To date, although some progress has been made in the field of occupational asthma genetics, most studies were based on small sample sizes, findings were not replicated, and gene-environment interactions have not yet been established.


Occupational asthma is a widespread and frequent condition and has relevant long-term adverse health and economic consequences. The search for risk factors including genetic factors in the development of the disease and an understanding of the mechanisms of interaction between genes and environment are important because the identification of individuals who are susceptible to occupational asthma together with an effective control of exposure to respiratory sensitizers in the workplace may be helpful in preventing the disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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