Environmental Pollution

Choi, Hyunok*, Nana Tabashidze, Pavel Rossner, Miroslav Dostal, Anna Pastorkova, Sek Won Kong, Hans Gmuender, and Radim J. Sram



Within fossil- and solid-fuel dependent geographic locations, mechanisms of air pollution-induced asthma remains unknown. In particular, sources of greater genetic susceptibility to airborne carcinogen, namely, benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) has never been investigated beyond that of a few well known genes. To deepen our understanding on how the genotypic variations within the candidate genes contribute to the variability in the children’s susceptibility to ambient B[a]P on doctor-diagnosed asthma. Clinically confirmed asthmatic versus healthy control children (aged, 7–15) were enrolled from historically polluted and rural background regions in Czech Republic. Contemporaneous ambient B[a]P concentration was obtained from the routine monitoring network. The sputum DNA was genotyped for 95 genes. B[a]P interaction with SNPs was studied by two-stage, semi-agnostic screening of 621 SNPs. The median B[a]P within the highly polluted urban center was 8-times higher than that in the background region (7.8 vs. 1.1 ng/m3) during the period of investigation. Within the baseline model, which considered B[a]P exposure-only, the second tertile range was associated with a significantly reduced odds (aOR = 0.28) of asthma (95% CI, 0.16 to 0.50) compared to those at the lowest range. However, the highest range of B[a]P was associated with 3.18-times greater odds of the outcome (95% CI, 1.77 to 5.71). Within the gene-environment interaction models, joint occurrence of a high B[a]P exposure range and having a high-risk genotype at CTLA4 gene (rs11571316) was associated with 9-times greater odds (95% CI, 4.56–18.36) of the asthma diagnosis. Similarly, rs11571319 at CTLA4 and a high B[a]P exposure range was associated with a 8-times greater odds (95% CI, 3.95–14.27) of asthma diagnosis. Furthermore, having TG + GG genotypes on rs1031509 near STAT4 was associated with 5-times (95% CI, 3.03–8.55) greater odds of asthma diagnosis at the highest B[a]P range, compared to the odds at the reference range. Also CYP2E1 AT + TT genotypes (rs2070673) was associated with 5-times (95% CI, 3.1–8.8) greater odds of asthma diagnosis at the highest B[a]P exposure. The children, who jointly experience a high B[a]P exposure (6.3–8.5 ng/m3) as well as susceptible genotypes in CTLA4 (rs11571316 and rs11571319), STAT4 (rs1031509), and CYP2E1 (rs2070673), respectively, are associated with a significantly greater odds of having doctor-diagnosed asthma, compared to those with neither risk factors.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff