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Genetic factors in smoking also increase risk of chronic bronchitis
Date:2/28/2008

nchitis that does not differ by sex is the first to our knowledge to quantify heritability of the disease, she said.

Because chronic bronchitis had previously been reported to be more prevalent in women than men, the results pointed to a number of intriguing possibilities. It is possible that women are more prone to report symptoms, remarked Dr. Hallberg. Or, more likely, this could be an effect of smoking being more harmful for women due to their smaller lungs from start (exposure to cigarette smoke relative to body size).

Dr. Hallberg cautioned that the finding that the genetic factors that contribute to chronic bronchitis were largely independent of those that contribute to smoking should not be interpreted to mean that smoking has no effect on chronic bronchitis. Although there was some genetic interplay, it is safe to say that smoking itself, and not the genes that predispose one to smoking, is a larger risk factor in developing chronic bronchitis of environmental exposures- primarily smoking- than genetic predisposition. This is true of both men and women, said Dr. Hallberg.

The investigators are currently working on a clinical follow-up study that is relating clinical measures of lung function to obstruction. We believe that it is important to also include testing of lung function to disentangle whether there are genetic differences by sex, said Dr. Hallberg. There is also data in the literature that social factors have different importance for smoking behavior in men and women. We know much less regarding the genetic influences.


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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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