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J Lab Clin Med. 2003 Apr;141(4):237-41.

Modifier genes in cystic fibrosis lung disease.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Jefferson B1-170, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene and is characterized by progressive bronchiectatic lung disease and pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. A broad spectrum of disease severity exists; some individuals with CF die early in childhood, whereas others live well into adulthood with only mild lung disease. It is now clear that CFTR genotype alone does not account for the wide diversity in CF pulmonary phenotype. Evidence is accumulating that secondary genetic factors separate from the CFTR locus significantly influence the severity of CF lung disease. The general classes of these potential modifier genes include inflammatory and antiinflammatory mediators, antioxidants, mediators of airway reactivity, molecules involved in CFTR trafficking, and alternative ion channels. The best-studied CF candidate modifiers include mannose-binding lectin, glutathione-S-transferase, transforming growth factor-beta1, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, beta2-adrenegic receptor, and HLA class II antigens. Ongoing studies designed to identify genetic modifiers of CF pulmonary phenotype may offer new insights into the pathophysiology of CF lung disease and provide leads for new CF therapeutic interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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