HLA-DQ strikes again: genome-wide association study further confirms HLA-DQ in the diagnosis of asthma among adults

Clin Exp Allergy. 2012 Dec;42(12):1724-33. doi: 10.1111/cea.12000.


Background: Asthma is a common chronic respiratory disease in children and adults. An important genetic component to asthma susceptibility has long been recognized, most recently through the identification of several genes (e.g., ORMDL3, PDE4D, HLA-DQ, and TLE4) via genome-wide association studies.

Objective: To identify genetic variants associated with asthma affection status using genome-wide association data.

Methods: We describe results from a genome-wide association study on asthma performed in 3855 subjects using a panel of 455 089 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

Result: The genome-wide association study resulted in the prioritization of 33 variants for immediate follow-up in a multi-staged replication effort. Of these, a common polymorphism (rs9272346) localizing to within 1 Kb of HLA-DQA1 (chromosome 6p21.3) was associated with asthma in adults (P-value = 2.2E-08) with consistent evidence in the more heterogeneous group of adults and children (P-value = 1.0E-04). Moreover, some genes identified in prior asthma GWAS were nominally associated with asthma in our populations.

Conclusion: Overall, our findings further replicate the HLA-DQ region in the pathogenesis of asthma. HLA-DQA1 is the fourth member of the HLA family found to be associated with asthma, in addition to the previously identified HLA-DRA, HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DQA2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / genetics*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DQ alpha-Chains / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Young Adult


  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ alpha-Chains
  • HLA-DQA1 antigen