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Gene variant linked with development of COPD in men
Date:5/15/2011

ATS 2011, DENVER Researchers have linked a variant in the vitamin D receptor gene (VDR) with the onset of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Caucasian men. The study population consisted of participants in the Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study, a multidisciplinary study of aging that began in 1963.

The VDR study will be presented at the ATS 2011 International Conference.

"Our results show that this gene variant is associated with development of COPD in Caucasian men, and provides support for the notion that vitamin D metabolic pathways may affect COPD risk," said Audrey Poon, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at Meakins-Christie Laboratories, McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. The study was conducted while Dr. Poon was doing her first postdoctoral fellowship at Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Although cigarette smoking is considered to be the main risk factor for chronic obstructive diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, only a proportion of smokers develop clinical disease. Researchers believe genetic factors also contribute to the risk of developing COPD. The vitamin D metabolic pathway has been implicated in the development of COPD.

"Several variants of genes that control vitamin D function and metabolism have been associated with COPD and other lung diseases, but results have been conflicting," Dr. Poon said. "In this study we investigated variants in two vitamin D pathway genes and their association with development of COPD."

Using DNA data from the VA study, the researchers determined the genotypes of 24 variants in the vitamin D receptor gene and 12 in the vitamin D binding protein gene in a total of 1,215 men. All subjects were free of known chronic conditions, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, chronic lung disease, asthma and diabetes at the time of recruitment.The VA study also offered data from repeated lung function measure
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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