Interactive effects between CDHR3 genotype and rhinovirus species for diagnosis and severity of respiratory tract infections in hospitalized children

Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Sep 26;11(5):e0118123. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.01181-23. Online ahead of print.


Rhinovirus (RV) is the leading pathogen causing childhood wheezing, with rhinovirus C (RV-C) species reported to cause asthma exacerbation. Allele A of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) CDHR3_rs6967330 upregulates epithelial expression of RV-C receptors which results in more severe asthma exacerbations in children. Nevertheless, there are limited data on interactions between CDHR3 variants and their impact on severity of RV-related pediatric respiratory tract infections (RTIs). Medical records of RV-related RTIs in children aged below 18 years who were hospitalized in two public hospitals in 2015-2016 were independently reviewed by two paediatricians. Archived nasopharyngeal aspirates were retrieved for RV detection and sequencing as well as CDHR3 genotyping. HaploView v.5.0 and generalized multifactor dimensionality reduction (GMDR) analysis were employed for haplotypic assignment and gene-environment interaction analyses. Among 1019 studied cases, our results confirmed the relationship between RV-C species and more severe RTIs. Besides the top risk variant rs6967330-A, we identified rs140154310-T to be associated with RV-C susceptibility under the additive model [odds ratio (OR) 2.53, 95% CI 1.15-5.56; P = 0.021]. Rs140154310 was associated with wheezing illness (OR 2.38, 95% CI 1.12-5.04; P = 0.024), with such association being stronger in subjects who wheezed due to RV-C infections (OR 2.71, 95% CI 1.32-5.58; P = 0.007). Haplotype GAG constructed from rs4730125, rs6967330, and rs73195665 was associated with increased risk of RV-C infection (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.11-2.65; P = 0.016) and oxygen supplementation (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.13-3.30; P = 0.016). GMDR analyses revealed epistatic interaction between rs140154310 and rs6967330 of CDHR3 for RV-C infection (P = 0.001), RV-C-associated lower RTI (P = 0.004), and RV-C-associated wheeze (P = 0.007). There was synergistic gene-environmental interaction between rs3887998 and RV-C for more severe clinical outcomes (P < 0.001). To conclude, rs140154310-T is another risk variant for RV-C susceptibility and more severe RTIs. Synergistic epistatic interaction is found between CDHR3 SNPs and RV-C for RTI severity, which is likely mediated by susceptibility to RV-C. Haplotypic analysis and GMDR should be included in identifying prediction models of CDHR3 for childhood asthma and RTIs. IMPORTANCE This case-control study investigated the interaction between CDHR3 genotypes and rhinovirus (RV) species on disease severity in Hong Kong children hospitalized for respiratory tract infection (RTI). There were synergistic effects between RV-C and CDHR3 SNPs for RTI severity, which was mainly driven by RV-C. Specifically, rs6967330 and rs140154310 alone and their epistatic interaction were associated with RV-C-related and severe RTIs in our subjects. Therefore, genotyping of CDHR3 SNPs may help physicians formulate prediction models for severity of RV-associated RTIs.

Keywords: CDHR3; children; gene-environment interaction; respiratory tract infection; rhinovirus; wheezing.