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Allergy. 2009 Dec;64(12):1790-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2009.02131.x.

The effect of BDNF gene variants on asthma in German children.

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University Children's Hospital, Ludwig Maximilian's University Munich, Germany.



Allergic inflammation can trigger neuronal dysfunction and structural changes in the airways and the skin. Levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are strongly up regulated at the location of allergic inflammation.


We systematically investigated whether polymorphisms in the BDNF gene influence the development or severity of asthma and atopic diseases.


The BDNF gene was screened for mutations in 80 chromosomes. Genotyping of six BDNF tagging polymorphisms was performed in a cross-sectional study population of 3099 children from Dresden and Munich (age 9-11 years, ISAAC II). Furthermore, polymorphisms were also investigated in an additional 655 asthma cases analysed with a random sample of 767 children selected from ISAAC II. Associations were calculated via chi-square test and anova using SAS Genetics and spss.


We identified nine polymorphisms with minor allele frequency >or=0.03, one of them leading to an amino acid change from Valine to Methionine. In the cross-sectional study population, no significant association was found with asthma or any atopic disease. However, when more severe asthma cases from the MAGIC study were analysed, significant asthma effects were observed with rs6265 (odds ratio 1.37, 95% confidence interval 1.14-1.64, P = 0.001), rs11030101 (OR 0.82, 95%CI 0.70-0.95, P = 0.009) and rs11030100 (OR 1.19, 95%CI 1.00-1.42, P = 0.05).


As in previous studies, effects of BDNF polymorphisms on asthma remain controversial. The data may suggest that BDNF polymorphisms contribute to severe forms of asthma.

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