Allergic asthma is a complex disease characterized in part by granulocytic inflammation of the airways. In addition to eosinophils, neutrophils (PMN) are also present, particularly in cases of severe asthma. We sought to identify the genetic determinants of neutrophilic inflammation in a mouse model of house dust mite (HDM)-induced asthma. We applied an HDM model of allergic asthma to the eight founder strains of the Collaborative Cross (CC) and 151 incipient lines of the CC (preCC). Lung lavage fluid was analyzed for PMN count and the concentration of CXCL1, a hallmark PMN chemokine. PMN and CXCL1 were strongly correlated in preCC mice. We used quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping to identify three variants affecting PMN, one of which colocalized with a QTL for CXCL1 on chromosome (Chr) 7. We used lung eQTL data to implicate a variant in the gene Zfp30 in the CXCL1/PMN response. This genetic variant regulates both CXCL1 and PMN by altering Zfp30 expression, and we model the relationships between the QTL and these three endophenotypes. We show that Zfp30 is expressed in airway epithelia in the normal mouse lung and that altering Zfp30 expression in vitro affects CXCL1 responses to an immune stimulus. Our results provide strong evidence that Zfp30 is a novel regulator of neutrophilic airway inflammation.
Keywords: CXCL1; MPP; Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC); asthma; complex traits; expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL); multiparental populations; neutrophil; systems genetics.
Copyright © 2014 by the Genetics Society of America.