Washington: Researchers have identified the genes that put some kids at severe risk of serious asthma attacks, including one not previously suspected of having any hand in the disease.
Klaus Bonnelykke, MD, PhD, who works for the Copenhagen Studies of Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC), the Danish Pediatric Asthma Center, Copenhagen University Hospital, said that their results show that asthma attacks requiring young children to be hospitalised are usually genetically related.
He said that genes play a far greater role in children with asthma than in adults. By screening children's DNA they've discovered that a gene called CDHR3, which was previously unassociated with the disease, plays a key role for the development of asthma, particularly in the very early years of life.
The researchers have studied the genes of 1,200 young children aged between two and six who had been hospitalised several times because of severe asthma attacks, and compared them with 2,500 healthy people.
The study was based on examinations of 1,200 Danish children hospitalised for asthma and 2,500 healthy individuals. Two- to six-year-old children who had been hospitalised at least twice were identified in the hospital records. Their DNA was then screened for risk genes, and subsequent studies of children from Denmark and abroad confirmed the discovery of a new risk gene ( CDHR3 ).
The results have been published in the journal Nature Genetics.