Researchers at the Yale School of Medicinein New Haven, Conn, report the identificationof a gene that controls the clinicalseverity of asthma. According to senior studyauthor Richard Bucala, MD, PhD, an internalmedicine professor at the school, "asthmapatients who have high production variants ofthe macrophage migration inhibitory factor(MIF) gene are more likely to have severe disease." The study was reported in the September2005 issue of Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences.
The researchers examined 151 Caucasianpatients with mild, moderate, and severeasthma. The findings showed that there wasan association between mild asthma andlower expressions of MIF. Dr. Bucala statedthat this discovery shows that, once you haveasthma, there are genes that are going tocontrol the severity of it.
"These results support an important rolefor MIF in the pathogenesis of human asthma," Dr. Bucala said. "A drug treatment tolower MIF in patients may be beneficial andcould be guided by the MIF genotype ofaffected individuals."