• asthma;
  • molecular genetics;
  • NAT2

Aims  Since polymorphic N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2) has been suggested as a susceptibility factor for atopic diseases, the study was undertaken to investigate whether an association exists between acetylation polymorphism and asthma patients with atopy.

Methods  The frequencies of NAT2 alleles and genotypes were determined by PCR/RFLP in a total of 210 asthma patients (extrinsic (n = 108) and intrinsic (n = 102) asthmatics) and 240 control subjects. Presence of the NAT2*4 (wild-type) allele defined a NAT2 genotype as rapid and combinations of mutant alleles NAT2*5 A, *5B, *5C, *6 A, and *7B as slow.

Results  Genotypes coding for slow acetylation were detected in 70.4, 58.4 and 58.3% of extrinsic asthmatics, but intrinsic asthmatics and control subjects, respectively. The frequency of slow acetylators was higher among extrinsic asthmatics than intrinsic asthmatics, this difference did not reach statistical significance (odds ratio 1.02, 95% confidence interval 0.64, 1.63, P = 0.085). However, we found a relatively moderate, but significantly higher, increased frequency of slow acetylators among extrinsic asthma patients compared with control subjects (odds ratio 1.70, 95% confidence interval 1.04, 2.76, P = 0.042).

Conclusions  This study shows an association between acetylation polymorphism and susceptibility to extrinsic asthma, but not to intrinsic asthma, suggesting a minor role of the NAT2 polymorphism in the development of atopic asthma.