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Gene–environment interactions in asthma
  1. S McLeish,
  2. S W Turner
  1. Department of Child Health, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  1. Dr S W Turner, School of Medicine, Department of Child Health, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZG, UK; s.w.turner{at}


The underlying pathogenesis of asthma, one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, is not fully understood. There is a well-documented heritable component to this disease and environmental factors associated with a Westernised lifestyle have also been implicated; recent studies suggest gene–environment interactions are important in the development of this disease. In the absence of a previous review in children, the present report presents the accumulating evidence for gene–environment interactions in asthma pathogenesis. Studies of these interactions in different populations have yielded both expected and unexpected results. This is a new and rapidly developing field where there are currently many more questions than answers.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Abbreviations:
    exhaled tobacco smoke
    glutathione S-transferase
    NAD(P)H:quinone oxireductase
    reactive oxygen species
    single nucleotide polymorphism
    Toll-like receptor