Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Novel Loci Associated With Diisocyanate-Induced Occupational Asthma

Toxicol Sci. 2015 Jul;146(1):192-201. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfv084. Epub 2015 Apr 26.


Diisocyanates, reactive chemicals used to produce polyurethane products, are the most common causes of occupational asthma. The aim of this study is to identify susceptibility gene variants that could contribute to the pathogenesis of diisocyanate asthma (DA) using a Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) approach. Genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping was performed in 74 diisocyanate-exposed workers with DA and 824 healthy controls using Omni-2.5 and Omni-5 SNP microarrays. We identified 11 SNPs that exceeded genome-wide significance; the strongest association was for the rs12913832 SNP located on chromosome 15, which has been mapped to the HERC2 gene (p = 6.94 × 10(-14)). Strong associations were also found for SNPs near the ODZ3 and CDH17 genes on chromosomes 4 and 8 (rs908084, p = 8.59 × 10(-9) and rs2514805, p = 1.22 × 10(-8), respectively). We also prioritized 38 SNPs with suggestive genome-wide significance (p < 1 × 10(-6)). Among them, 17 SNPs map to the PITPNC1, ACMSD, ZBTB16, ODZ3, and CDH17 gene loci. Functional genomics data indicate that 2 of the suggestive SNPs (rs2446823 and rs2446824) are located within putative binding sites for the CCAAT/Enhancer Binding Protein (CEBP) and Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4, Alpha transcription factors (TFs), respectively. This study identified SNPs mapping to the HERC2, CDH17, and ODZ3 genes as potential susceptibility loci for DA. Pathway analysis indicated that these genes are associated with antigen processing and presentation, and other immune pathways. Overlap of 2 suggestive SNPs with likely TF binding sites suggests possible roles in disruption of gene regulation. These results provide new insights into the genetic architecture of DA and serve as a basis for future functional and mechanistic studies.

Keywords: asthma; diisocyanate; genetic polymorphism; genome-wide association study.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Asthma / genetics*
  • Cyanates / toxicity*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / genetics*


  • Cyanates