Background: Leukotrienes (LTs) have been identified as central mediators in asthma and allergy. Pharmacological inhibition of cysteinyl-LT activity improves asthma symptoms and control. Accumulating evidence suggests a role for the dihydroxy leukotriene LTB4 in airway disease. LTA4 hydrolase and 5-lipoxygenase activating protein have key roles in LTB4 production. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) and haplotypes spanning the LTA4H and ALOX5AP genes have been associated with LTB4 production and myocardial infarction (MI).
Objective: To assess the contribution of LTA4H and ALOX5AP polymorphism to asthma and allergy susceptibility.
Methods: Three hundred and forty-one Caucasian families (two asthmatic siblings) were genotyped for eight SNPs spanning ALOX5AP and five SNPs spanning LTA4H. Association analyses of asthma and related phenotypes (total IgE, atopy, bronchial hyper-responsiveness, FEV1) were undertaken using the Family Based Association Test.
Results: Single point analyses identified association (P < 0.05) between SNPs SG13S114, SG13S89, SG13S41 (ALOX5AP), rs1978331 (LTA4H) and asthma and/or related phenotypes. Haplotype analyses using all LTA4H SNPs identified a single key risk haplotype for the development of asthma (P = 0.006) and related phenotypes (P = 0.042–0.005). Haplotype analyses using all ALOX5AP SNPs identified several asthma and atopy risk and protective haplotypes. There was limited correlation with previously identified MI risk haplotypes in both genes. Carriers of both ALOX5AP SG13S41 and LTA4H rs1978331 alleles had an increased risk of developing asthma (OR 2.17, CI 1.41–3.32).
Conclusions: These data provide evidence for the role of SNPs spanning the ALOX5AP and LTA4H genes in asthma and atopy susceptibility in the Caucasian population and support a role for LTB4 in disease pathogenesis.