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Changes in gene may stunt lung development in children
Date:3/26/2009

iscovered two common SNPs associated with poorer lung function. One of these SNPs likely alters the expression levels of SOD3. Lung function was tested with spirometry, which measures the amount and speed of exhaled air.

Previously, genetic variants in SOD3 have been associated with loss of lung function in COPD, which is mainly caused by cigarette smoking. "We know SOD3 protects the lung against injury caused by chemicals in cigarette smoke, and it could be a link between childhood exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and poor lung development," said Dr. Leikaf. In the future it might be possible to identify at-risk children and to develop a medication that would foster optimal lung development, he added. The researchers also are exploring sex differences in SOD3 gene expression and lung development, and girls appear to be at greater risk than boys.

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 120,000 deaths annually and costing more than $30 billion per year. It is estimated that more than 16 million Americans have COPD.


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Contact: Clare Collins
CollCX@upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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