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Exp Ther Med. 2013 Feb;5(2):572-580. Epub 2012 Nov 13.

Effect of glucocorticoid receptor gene polymorphisms on asthma phenotypes.

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Departments of Internal Medicine, Asthma and Allergy, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz 90-153.


The clinical presentation of asthma results from complex gene-gene and gene-environment interactions. The natural variability of the DNA sequence within the NR3C1 gene affects the activity of glucocorticoid receptors (GCRs). The NR3C1 gene is localized on chromosome 5q31-q32. The gene coding for the GCR comprises nine exons. The structural domains of the GCR determine the biological functions of the functional domains. The observed resistance to glucocorticosteroids and the normal metabolic profile of Tth111I single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) carriers is due to the ER22/23EK polymorphism that is present in them. BclI polymorphism significantly affects the process of alternative NR3C1 gene splicing and within that mechanism increases the sensitivity to glucocorticoids (GCs). A total of 451 subjects were enrolled in the present study, including 235 qualified to the group of bronchial asthma patients. A group of 216 healthy participants with no history of asthma or atopic conditions was qualified for the study. Genotyping was accomplished using the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and PCR-high resolution melting (HRM) methods. No statistically significant differences were observed in the frequency of Tth111I, BclI and ER22/23EK polymorphisms of the NR3C1 gene when comparing mild, moderate and severe asthma vs. the control group. Investigative analyses demonstrated statistically significant correlations for alleles and genotypes of Tth111I polymorphism of the NR3C1 gene between healthy subjects and patients with severe asthma characterized by a control profile corresponding to an Asthma Control Test (ACT)™ score ≥20. It was established that only the Tth111I polymorphism of the NR3C1 gene plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic bronchitis leading to the development of asthma with both allergic and non-allergic etiology.


NR3C1 gene; asthma; glucocorticoid receptor; glucocorticoid receptor gene polymorphisms; inflammation; restriction fragment length polymorphism; single nucleotide polymorphism

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