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Thorax. 2006 May;61(5):394-9. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Functional variants of antioxidant genes in smokers with COPD and in those with normal lung function.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand.



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is predominantly the consequence of chronic smoking exposure, but its development may be influenced by genetic variants that affect lung remodelling, inflammation, and defence from oxidant stress. A study was undertaken to determine whether genetic variants within genes encoding the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase may be associated with the development of impaired lung function.


In a case-control study, the allele and genotype frequencies of functional polymorphisms from SOD1 (CuZnSOD), SOD2 (MnSOD), SOD3 (extracellular SOD), and catalase (CAT) were compared in chronic smokers with normal lung function (resistant smokers) and in those with COPD.


Significantly higher frequencies of the G allele and CG/GG genotype of the 213 SOD3 polymorphism were found in resistant smokers (odds ratios (ORs) 4.3 (95% CI 1.5 to 13.3) and 4.2, 95% CI 1.4 to 13.3), Bonferroni corrected p = 0.02 and p = 0.02, respectively) than in those with COPD. There were no differences between the COPD and resistant smokers for the SOD1, SOD2, or CAT polymorphisms tested.


The 213Gly variant of the SOD3 gene may, through antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects, confer a degree of resistance in some smokers to the development of COPD.

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