Investigations into the role of ST2 in acute asthma in children
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: The ST2 gene is a member of the interleukin-1 receptor family and is located on chromosome 2q12, an area of the genome that has been associated with asthma. The soluble product of the ST2 gene, serum ST2 (sST2), has previously been shown to be elevated in adult asthmatic patients. This study investigated the potential role of ST2 in children with acute asthma. Children aged 2-16 years (n = 186) were recruited on presentation with acute asthma in the emergency department. Blood was obtained on presentation and during convalescence. Variables assessed included sST2 levels, a comprehensive assembly of clinical parameters and two polymorphisms in the ST2 gene, -26999G/A, located in the distal promoter region, and ala78glu polymorphism, on exon 3. The A allele of the -26999G/A polymorphism occurred more frequently in asthmatics compared with an unselected control group (P = 0.031). Serum ST2 levels were substantially higher during acute asthma compared with levels after the attack: 0.29 ng/ml (95% confidence interval: 0.23-0.36) and 0.14 ng/ml (0.12-0.17), respectively (P = 0.001) and were inversely related to eosinophil counts during an acute asthma attack (P = 0.002). The -26999AA genotype, as well as the AC haplotype, was associated with asthma severity scores (P = 0.05 and 0.02) compared with the -26999GA and GG genotypes. Serum ST2 levels were not associated with any of the studied genotypes or haplotypes. The observed associations of ST2 genotypes and haplotypes with acute asthma and asthma severity scores as well as the phenotypic differences associated with ST2 polymorphisms suggest that ST2 may play a role in the pathophysiology of asthma. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
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