Glutathione S-transferase gene polymorphisms and air pollution as interactive risk factors for asthma in a multicentre Italian field study: A preliminary study

Ann Hum Biol. 2010 Jun;37(3):427-39. doi: 10.3109/03014461003636419.


Background: Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases. Several studies have indicated that oxidative stress impairs pulmonary function. Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are believed to be critical in the protection of cells from reactive oxygen species.

Aim: In this case-control study we analysed the possible association between polymorphism in several cytosolic GST genes, air pollution and asthma development.

Methods: Genotyping of GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes was carried out by a multiplex PCR; GSTA1, GSTO1, GSTO2, GSTP1 polymorphisms were determined using the PCR-RFLP method. Data on atmospheric pollutants were collected by the regional air-quality monitoring network.

Results: Among all the polymorphisms studied, the frequencies of GSTA1, GSTM1, GSTO2 and GSTT1 genotypes found in the group of asthmatic patients seem to differ from the frequencies of those found in the control group. Air pollutants were analysed and the air quality parameters considered proved to be significantly different, and therefore suitable for this study.

Conclusion: The final result of this research should hopefully lead to a better understanding of gene-environment interactions, so allowing earlier prediction and diagnosis of asthma disease and providing an efficient means of prevention.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*


  • Air Pollutants
  • glutathione S-transferase T1
  • GSTA1 protein, human
  • GSTO1 protein, human
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glutathione S-transferase M1