Traffic fumes affect asthma in children genetically susceptible to the disease
AllerGen researchers at The University of British Columbia, University of Alberta and University of Manitoba, in partnership with collaborators in Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands, have identified that children with a specific genetic profile may be at an increased risk of developing asthma after exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TrAP).
The Traffic pollution, Asthma, Genetics (TAG) Study is the first Canadian-European consortium to examine how traffic-related air pollution and genetic profiles contribute to the development of childhood asthma. The study is led by AllerGen investigators, Dr. Michael Brauer, a professor in the School of Population and Public Health, and Dr. Chris Carlsten, Chair in Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease, at The University of British Columbia.
Study findings, published in January in Environmental Health Perspectives, suggested that children with one variant of the gluathione S-transferase P1, or GSTP1 gene, had double the expected risk of developing asthma associated with traffic-related air pollution. “This supports the plausibility of a causal relationship and brings us closer to understanding the mechanism of action of traffic pollution in vulnerable people,” said Dr. Brauer.
The TAG Study combined data from over 15,000 children enrolled in six (two Canadian and four European) birth cohorts. “Generous partnership with our European colleagues allowed us to gather enough children to show an effect that would likely be hidden within a smaller group; extrapolating to the global population, this has important public health implications,” Dr. Carlsten commented.