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BMC Pulm Med. 2016 May 18;16(1):81. doi: 10.1186/s12890-016-0239-8.

CHI3L1 polymorphisms, cord blood YKL-40 levels and later asthma development.

Author information

1
University of Basel Children's Hospital, University of Basel, Basel, 4056, Switzerland.
2
Division of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Paediatrics, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Bern, 3010, Switzerland.
3
University of Basel Children's Hospital, University of Basel, Basel, 4056, Switzerland. urs.frey@ukbb.ch.
4
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute Basel, Basel, 4051, Switzerland.
5
University of Basel, Basel, 4003, Switzerland.
6
Children's Hospital, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, 72076, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1), the gene encoding YKL-40, and increased serum YKL-40 levels are associated with severe forms of asthma. It has never been addressed whether SNPs in CHI3L1 and cord blood YKL-40 levels could already serve as potential biomarkers for milder forms of asthma. We assessed in an unselected population whether SNPs in CHI3L1 and cord blood YKL-40 levels at birth are associated with respiratory symptoms, lung function changes, asthma, and atopy.

METHODS:

In a prospective birth cohort of healthy term-born neonates (n = 260), we studied CHI3L1 polymorphisms, and measured cord blood YKL-40 levels by ELISA in (n = 170) infants. Lung function was performed at 5 weeks and 6 years. Respiratory health during the first year of life was assessed weekly by telephone interviews. Diagnosis of asthma and allergic sensitisation was assessed at 6 years (n = 142).

RESULTS:

The SNP rs10399805 was significantly associated with asthma at 6 years. The odds ratio for asthma was 4.5 (95 % CI 1.59-12.94) per T-allele. This finding was unchanged when adjusting for cord blood YKL-40 levels. There was no significant association for cord blood YKL-40 levels and asthma. SNPs in CHI3L1 and cord blood YKL-40 were not associated with lung function measurements at 5 weeks and 6 years, respiratory symptoms in the first year, and allergic sensitisation at 6 years.

CONCLUSION:

Genetic variation in CHI3L1 might be related to the development of milder forms of asthma. Larger studies are warranted to establish the role of YKL-40 in that pathway.

KEYWORDS:

Asthma; CHI3L1 protein; Children; Cohort study; Cord blood; Genetic association study; Genetic variation; Infants; YKL-40 protein

PMID:
27193312
PMCID:
PMC4870763
DOI:
10.1186/s12890-016-0239-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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