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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Dec;126(6):1131-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.08.002.

Factors predicting inhaled corticosteroid responsiveness in African American patients with asthma.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.



African American patients disproportionately experience uncontrolled asthma. Treatment with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) is considered first-line therapy for persistent asthma.


We sought to determine the degree to which African American patients respond to ICS medication and whether the level of response is influenced by other factors, including genetic ancestry.


Patients aged 12 to 56 years who received care from a large health system in southeast Michigan and who resided in Detroit were recruited to participate if they had a diagnosis of asthma. Patients were treated with 6 weeks of inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate, and pulmonary function was remeasured after treatment. Ancestry was determined by genotyping ancestry-informative markers. The main outcome measure was ICS responsiveness defined as the change in prebronchodilator FEV(1) over the 6-week course of treatment.


Among 147 participating African American patients with asthma, average improvement in FEV(1) after 6 weeks of ICS treatment was 11.6%. The mean proportion of African ancestry in this group was 78.4%. The degree of baseline bronchodilator reversibility was the only factor consistently associated with ICS responsiveness, as measured by both an improvement in FEV(1) and patient-reported asthma control (P = .001 and P = .021, respectively). The proportion of African ancestry was not significantly associated with ICS responsiveness.


Although baseline pulmonary function parameters appear to be associated with the likelihood to respond to ICS treatment, the proportion of genetic African ancestry does not. This study suggests that genetic ancestry might not contribute to differences in ICS controller response among African American patients with asthma.

Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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