Glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms, asthma susceptibility and confounding variables: a meta-analysis

Mol Biol Rep. 2013 Apr;40(4):3299-313. doi: 10.1007/s11033-012-2405-2. Epub 2013 Jan 10.


Oxidative stress is one of the main risk factors for asthma development. Glutathione S-transferases play an important role in antioxidant defences and may influence asthma susceptibility. In particular, GSTM1 and GSTT1 positive/null genotypes and the GSTP1 Ile105 Val polymorphism have been analyzed in a number of genetic association studies, with conflicting outcomes. Two previous meta-analyses have attempted to clarify the associations between GST genes and asthma, but these studies have also showed contrasting results. Our aim was to perform a meta-analysis that included independent genetic association studies on GSTM1, GSTP1, and GSTT1, evaluating also the effect of potential confounding variables (i.e. ethnicity, population age, and urbanization). Systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of GST genes on asthma were conducted. The meta-analyses were performed using a fixed or, where appropriate, random effects model. The meta-analysis of the GSTM1 (n = 35), GSTT1 (n = 31) and GSTP1 (n = 28) studies suggests that no significant associations with asthma susceptibility were observed for GSTM1 and GSTP1 gene polymorphisms, whereas a significant outcome was detected for the GSTT1 positive/null genotype (pooled OR = 1.33, 95 %CI = 1.10-1.60). However, high between-study heterogeneity was identified in all the general analyses (p heterogenetity < 0.05). The stratification analysis seems to explain the heterogeneity only in few cases. This picture is probably due to the interactive process of genetics and environment that characterizes disease pathogenesis. Further studies on interactions of GST genes with the potential oxidative stress sources and with other antioxidant genes are needed to explain the role of GST enzymes in asthma.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / genetics*
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi / genetics*
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Risk Factors


  • glutathione S-transferase T1
  • GSTP1 protein, human
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glutathione S-transferase M1