Analysis of genetic heterogeneity of bronchial asthma as related to the age of onset
Russian Journal of Genetics, 36:2, 201–205 (2000)
Earlier, the distribution of bronchial asthma (BA) morbidity with respect to the age of onset (AO) in the Moscow population was found to be bimodal. The distribution had two peaks (before and after 25 years of age) and a significant (P < 0.001) minimum between them. Based on these data, genetic heterogeneity of BA with respect to AO was hypothesized. The purpose of this study was to test this hypothesis via analysis of BA morbidity in families of probands with different AOs. The BA morbidity at different ages and the total recurrent risk of BA were estimated in 1518 relatives of 815 BA probands registered in several district outpatient clinics of Moscow. Based on the data obtained, phenotypic between relatives and correlation by genotype between early-onset and late-onset BA cases (with AOs under and over 25 years, respectively) were estimated. It was demonstrated for the first time that the age distribution of BA morbidity in families of probands was also bimodal. Moreover, when probands with early and late AOs were analyzed separately, proband relatives in each of the two groups exhibited these two peaks of morbidity. This suggests that BA that begins in adolescence and BA of adults are not genetically independent forms of the disease. This agrees with the data on the correlation by genotype between the "forms" with the early and late AOs, which does not significantly differ from 1. However, the prevalence of BA was higher in relatives of those probands who developed BA under the age of 25 compared to relatives of those who developed BA over the age of 25 (11.28 and 7.31%, respectively; P < 0.05). Therefore, patients with early-onset BA are more "loaded" genetically with respect to this disease. Since the BA genetic heterogeneity connected with AO has not been confirmed in this study, it is assumed that the observed bimodal distribution of BA morbidity with respect to age is accounted for by the effect of age itself. In other words, it is hypothesized that ontogenetic factors affect susceptibility to BA so that the susceptibility threshold varies with age.
Keywords: Russian Federation, age-specific rate, morbidity