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Pharmacogenomics. 2001 Nov;2(4):329-39.

Recent developments in the genetics of asthma.

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University of British Columbia, McDonald Research Laboratories/iCAPTURE Center, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Asthma is a complex genetic disease with multiple genes involved in the pathogenesis. Some of these genes have been investigated to determine whether they influence an individual's response to asthma medication. We summarise the recent developments in the genetics of asthma as they pertain to the three main treatments available - inhaled glucocorticoids (GCs), (2)-agonists and leukotriene modulators. It has been shown that polymorphisms in the (2)-adrenergic receptor ((2)AR) gene influence responsiveness to (2)-agonists. Polymorphisms in the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) gene and the leukotriene C(4) (LTC4) synthase gene have been associated with response to medications that target the LT pathway. However, no polymorphisms have been identified that influence response to anticholinergics or are involved in steroid resistance. In the future, knowledge of an individual's genotype may help us tailor treatment to make it the most appropriate form for that asthmatic individual.

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