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Mol Biol Rep. 2011 Oct;38(7):4613-7. doi: 10.1007/s11033-010-0594-0. Epub 2010 Dec 4.

A role for epidermal growth factor receptor in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis onset.

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Dipartimento di Istologia, Embriologia e Biologia Applicata, Università di Bologna, Via Belmeloro 8, 40126 Bologna, Italy.


In idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients the presence of missense polymorphisms (SNP) in members of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family or their genetic association could influence the binding affinity of natural ligands, modifying the expression and the behavior of the correlated genes. EGFR family members are particularly involved in the epithelial injury and fibrotic process in IPF. Genetic variations in HER family of receptors may alter the possible therapeutic efficacy of EGFR inhibitors. This study aimed to analyze the relationships between IPF and specific EGF receptor family functional polymorphisms. We tested the presence of common EGFR, HER2 and HER3 non-synonymous SNPs in the peripheral blood of 20 Italian IPF patients and their association with the disease. Our data indicated that the HER2 variant allele frequency was significantly lower in patients than in controls, with an odds ratio of 0.31 (95% CI 0.080, 0.98). Our finding suggests that HER2 variant could be a protective factor against IPF onset.

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