Yes, Virginia, There Is an Asthma Gene
Researchers have discovered a gene thatseems to influence susceptibility to asthma.Furthermore, the CYFIP2 protein producedby the gene could serve as a target for newasthma drugs, according to a study reportedin the American Journal of Respiratory andCritical Care Medicine (July 15, 2005).
In an earlier study, the researchers connectedmapped areas on chromosome 5in patients with allergic asthma. For thecurrent study, the researchers took theevidence a step beyond by identifying agene in this region that influences asthmavulnerability. The investigators performedgenetic screening in 155 families withasthma. The results showed 6 DNAchanges that affect the development ofasthma. These mutations were found in agene for CYFIP2. Further examinationsuggested that CYFIP2 impacts the risk ofasthma by affecting the function of T cells.The investigators said that more testing isneeded to explain how changes in thesecells may promote asthma.