Background: A disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) 33 has been implicated as an asthma susceptibility gene by using a positional cloning approach. However, genetic linkage of asthma phenotypes to chromosome 20p13 (the location of ADAM33) has not been observed in most asthma genome scans, and it is unclear whether these associations with ADAM33 are broadly generalizable.
Objective: To examine whether ADAM33 is associated with asthma in a North American population of childhood asthmatic patients.
Methods: We performed a family-based association study by using 652 nuclear families ascertained through asthmatic subjects enrolled in a large randomized clinical trial. Seventeen ADAM33 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; including 9 associated with asthma in the initial report) were genotyped by mass spectrometry. Single-SNP and haplotype association analysis was performed.
Results: Among white and African American subjects, no single-SNP association with asthma was observed. However, a common 16-SNP haplotype (frequency, 14.6% in white subjects) was associated with asthma (P=.006). Two SNPs in strong linkage disequilibrium (T1 and T+1) were marginally associated with asthma in the Hispanic cohort (P=.04). These data provide marginal support for an asthma locus in the ADAM33 genomic region. However, the magnitudes of the observed associations are modest at best and are inconsistent with the original report.
Conclusions: We conclude that either ADAM33 has only modest effects on asthma susceptibility, and the initial reports of association were a result of analysis in a selected population, or the initial findings were a result of chance. It is also possible that the true asthma susceptibility locus in this genomic region is near, but not at, ADAM33.