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J Allergy (Cairo). 2011;2011:346719. doi: 10.1155/2011/346719. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Genetic variability in susceptibility to occupational respiratory sensitization.

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Toxicology and Molecular Biology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA.


Respiratory sensitization can be caused by a variety of substances at workplaces, and the health and economic burden linked to allergic respiratory diseases continues to increase. Although the main factors that affect the onset of the symptoms are the types and intensity of allergen exposure, there is a wide range of interindividual variation in susceptibility to occupational/environmental sensitizers. A number of gene variants have been reported to be associated with various occupational allergic respiratory diseases. Examples of genes include, but are not limited to, genes involved in immune/inflammatory regulation, antioxidant defenses, and fibrotic processes. Most of these variants act in combination with other genes and environmental factors to modify disease progression, severity, or resolution after exposure to allergens. Therefore, understanding the role of genetic variability and the interaction between genetic and environmental/occupational factors provides new insights into disease etiology and may lead to the development of novel preventive and therapeutic strategies. This paper will focus on the current state of knowledge regarding genetic influences on allergic respiratory diseases, with specific emphasis on diisocyanate-induced asthma and chronic beryllium disease.

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