Despite extensive effort, only a few chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-associated genes have been suggested, indicating that there must be additional risk-associated loci. Here we aimed to identify additional COPD-associated SNPs and to explore the potential relationship between COPD subgroups and the SNPs in the Korean population. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) with 990 Korean individuals; 102 COPD cases and 544 controls for GWAS using Affymetrix SNP array 5.0, and 173 COPD cases and 171 controls for replication. After validating the candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), we performed subgroup analysis by disease phenotype. Through GWAS, we identified a novel SNP in the phosphodiesterase-4D (PDE4D) gene [rs16878037 (C>T), p = 1.66 ◊ 10(-6)] that was significantly associated with COPD. This signal in PDE4D was successfully replicated in the independent set (p = 0.041). When we combined the discovery and replication data, the association signal became more significant (p = 5.69 ◊ 10(-7)). In the COPD subgroup analysis, the T allele of rs16878037 was significantly more frequent in COPD patients without severe diffusion capacity impairment (mild mixed and obstruction-dominant group) than in patients with severe impairment (severe mixed and emphysema-dominant groups). This result supports that PDE4D polymorphisms might be involved in the susceptibility to COPD especially in non-emphysematous individuals and that they could also affect the responsiveness of the PDE4 inhibitor treatment.
Keywords: Phosphodiesterase 4D; Roflumilast; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; genome-wide association study; single nucleotide polymorphism.