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High Alt Med Biol. 2003 Fall;4(3):355-66.

Lack of evidence for association of high altitude pulmonary edema and polymorphisms of the NO pathway.

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Department of Internal Medicine VI, Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Bergheimer Strasse 58, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany.


One essential factor in the development of high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is elevated pulmonary artery pressure, possibly due to a lack of nitric oxide (NO) in pulmonary vessels. NOS3 gene polymorphisms (G894T, T-786C, and CA-repeats > or =38) might be linked to decreased NO synthesis and increased susceptibility to HAPE, while the C242T polymorphism of the CYBA gene [encoding for the NAD(P)H oxidase subunit p22phox] may increase NO availability and thus convey resistance to HAPE. To test this hypothesis, we genotyped 51 mountaineers susceptible and 52 mountaineers not susceptible to HAPE. Genotyping revealed similar genotype frequencies of the G894T and the T-786C NOS3 polymorphism in both groups (G894T: susceptibles, 39.2% GG, 47.1% GT, 13.7% TT; nonsusceptibles, 48.0% GG, 44.0% GT, 8.0% TT; p = 0.54. T-786C: susceptibles, 45.1% TT, 39.2% TC, 15.7% CC; nonsusceptibles, 53.8% TT, 40.4% TC, 5.8% CC; p = 0.28). Genotype frequencies of the C242T CYBA polymorphism were 43.1% CC, 47.1 % CT, and 9.8% TT in HAPE susceptibles and 38.0% CC, 52.0 % CT, and 10.0% TT (p = 0.92) in nonsusceptibles. There was also no difference between the two groups in the number of CA repeats (p = 0.57), and individuals with > or =38 CA repeats were not more likely to develop HAPE (p = 1.0). Haplotype analysis for the NOS3 polymorphisms also revealed no association with HAPE. The results of this study suggest that none of these genetic variants plays a substantial role in the pathogenesis of HAPE in Caucasians, but does not exclude epistatic effects that might still involve the genetic systems studied here.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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