Researchers Discover Role of Gene Linked to Asthma Susceptibility

by Rukmani Krishna on Sep 26 2013 11:46 PM

 Researchers Discover Role of Gene Linked to Asthma Susceptibility
The role that gene ORMDL3 plays in asthma susceptibility was uncovered by researchers including an Indian-origin.
ORMDL3, a gene recently linked to asthma susceptibility, has now been linked to the body's ability to recruit inflammatory cells during an airway allergic reaction.

University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) including Srirama Rao, Ph.D., (P. Sriramarao), CVM professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and associate dean for research, as well as professor in the U of M Medical School's Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, has identified a function of how ORMDL3 regulates the recruitment of inflammatory cells to airways, thus causing airway inflammation, in a mouse model.

Sung Gil Ha, Ph.D., a CVM post-doctoral fellow and the study's lead author, and colleagues have identified factors that up-regulate the ORMDL3 gene in specific white blood cells such as eosinophils during allergic asthma.

By silencing or over-expressing ORMDL3 in eosinophils, the group has identified molecules regulated by the gene. These molecules enable eosinophils to congregate in airways where they cause allergic inflammation.

When turning the ORMDL3 gene off, researchers found lower levels of integrins expressed on the surface of eosinophils, meaning a decreased ability of eosinophils to migrate and cause inflammation in the airways.

Genetic disposition can influence the severity or susceptibility to an asthmatic reaction to allergens or environmental factors like stress and cold.

The findings have been published in the journal Nature Communications.