Genes and severe asthma
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Department of Pneumonology, Medical School, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis, Greece
Airway Disease Unit, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, UK
Corresponding author
Paschalis Steiropoulos   

Medical School, Democritus University of Thrace Department of Pneumonology, University Hospital of Alexandroupolis 68100 Alexandroupolis, Greece
Pneumon 2011;24(3):321-329
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, affecting approximately 155 million people worldwide. The causes are multifactorial and are attributed to several interactions between various different genes and environmental exposures. These interactions can affect either the susceptibility of a person to develop of asthma or the severity of the disease. This review article presents recent approaches to the understanding of the genetic influences on the severity of asthma expression. Specifically, genetic studies conducted in adults with severe asthma, and the spectrum of the genetics of lung function are reviewed, with special focus on pharmacogenetics and the genetic factors that affect the response to asthma treatment. Finally, environmental interactions and epigenetic mechanisms are discussed.
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