Rationale: Recently, a new asthma susceptibility gene, GPRA (G-protein-related receptor for asthma), has been identified by positional cloning. Initial association studies in a Finnish and Canadian population suggested an association with asthma and elevated serum IgE levels.
Objective: In a large, nested case-control study, associations between GPRA polymorphisms, asthma, and serum IgE levels were analyzed.
Methods: Using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) technology, 1,872 German children aged 9 to 11 years (including 624 children with asthma and/or bronchial hyperresponsiveness) were genotyped for seven polymorphisms in the GPRA gene.
Measurements: Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was assessed, and association studies with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes were performed.
Main results: SNP 546333 increased the risk for asthma (odds ratio [OR], 1.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.88; p = 0.025) and concomitant asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR; OR, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.22-4.66; p = 0.009). Also, SNP 585883 was associated with asthma (OR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.04-1.72; p = 0.022) and asthma in combination with BHR (OR, 2.71; 95% CI, 1.45-5.09; p = 0.001). Furthermore, SNP 585883 was associated with elevated serum IgE levels (OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.10-2.42; p = 0.015). Haplotype combinations of risk alleles increased the OR for asthma to 1.83 (95% CI, 1.08-3.08; p = 0.024) and for asthma and concomitant BHR to OR 3.51 (95% CI, 1.08-11.37; p = 0.036).
Conclusions: These results indicate that GPRA polymorphisms increase the susceptibility for asthma and BHR, and to a lesser degree for the elevation of serum IgE, in a German population, confirming initial observations in other white populations.