July - September 2011: 
Volume 24, Issue 3

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Pneumon 2011, 24(3):321-329
Genes and severe asthma
SUMMARY. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, affecting approximately 155 million people worldwide. The causes are multifactorial and are attributed to several interactions between various different genes and environmental exposures. These interactions can affect either the susceptibility of a person to develop of asthma or the severity of the disease. This review article presents recent approaches to the understanding of the genetic influences on the severity of asthma expression. Specifically, genetic studies conducted in adults with severe asthma, and the spectrum of the genetics of lung function are reviewed, with special focus on pharmacogenetics and the genetic factors that affect the response to asthma treatment. Finally, environmental interactions and epigenetic mechanisms are discussed. Pneumon 2011, 24(3):321-329.