The report, from the NHLBI Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Asthma (CSGA),
appears in the April issue of Nature Genetics.
According to NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant, "This is an intriguing study. It not
only brings us one step closer to identifying all the important genes that contribute to the
development of asthma, but it also provides a possible explanation for the substantial differences
in disease prevalence and severity that we have observed among different racial and ethnic groups
in the U.S."
"Of course," he added, "these findings must be replicated in additional families with
The investigators currently are analyzing the 11 chromosomal regions in a new set of
families to try to replicate the findings.
The prevalence of asthma is greater for blacks (6.1 percent) than for whites (5.0 percent),
while in Hispanics, it ranges from a low of 2.7 percent among Mexican-American children living
in the Southwest to 11.2 percent for Puerto Rican children living in New York City. Both
hospitalization and death rates for blacks are nearly triple those of whites.
In the study, investigators at the 4 CSGA centers analyzed data on 380 children and adults
with asthma (117 African Americans, 215 Caucasians, and 48 Hispanics). Each of the 140
families involved in the current analysis had at least 2 siblings with established asthma.
The CSGA centers are the University of Chicago, the Johns Hopkins University, the
University of Maryland, and the University of Minnesota. The gene mapping was performed by
the NHLBI Mammalian Genotyping Service in Marshfield, WI.
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