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Children's Lung Function Linked to Genetic Variants

Decreased lung capacity and small airway flow associated with variants in GST mu genes

MONDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- In children, variants in GST mu genes are associated with decreased lung capacity and small airway flow, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Carrie V. Breton, of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues assessed lung function and genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms in GSTM2, GSTM3, GSTM4 and GSTM5 loci in 2,108 children aged 10 to 18.

The researchers found that two haplotypes in GSTM2 were associated with decreased forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and the maximum mid-expiratory flow rate, and that variation in GSTM2 was strongly associated with decreased lung function in children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. They also found that one haplotype in GSTM3 was associated with a decrease in growth for maximum mid-expiratory flow rate and that one haplotype in GSTM4 was associated with decreased growth in FEV1, maximum mid-expiratory flow rate, and forced vital capacity.

"GSTM2, in particular, may play a critical role in oxidative defense to environmental insults during fetal development," the authors write. "GSTs are a primary pathway for detoxifying lipid peroxidation products formed from tobacco smoke. Thus, children with GST mu variants may have decreased antioxidant defense compared to those with the common variant genotypes during prenatal and postnatal lung development."

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