Copy number variation of the beta-defensin genes in Europeans: no supporting evidence for association with lung function, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma

Ahuja, Sunil K. and Wain, Louise V. and Odenthal-Hesse, Linda and Abujaber, Razan and Sayers, Ian and Beardsmore, Caroline and Gaillard, Erol A. and Chappell, Sally and Dogaru, Cristian M. and McKeever, Tricia and Guetta-Baranes, Tamar and Kalsheker, Noor and Kuehni, Claudia E. and Hall, Ian P. and Tobin, Martin D. and Hollox, Edward J. (2014) Copy number variation of the beta-defensin genes in Europeans: no supporting evidence for association with lung function, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma. PLoS ONE, 9 (1). e84192/1-e84192/8. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Lung function measures are heritable, predict mortality and are relevant in diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD and asthma are diseases of the airways with major public health impacts and each have a heritable component. Genome-wide association studies of SNPs have revealed novel genetic associations with both diseases but only account for a small proportion of the heritability. Complex copy number variation may account for some of the missing heritability. A well-characterised genomic region of complex copy number variation contains beta-defensin genes (DEFB103, DEFB104 and DEFB4), which have a role in the innate immune response. Previous studies have implicated these and related genes as being associated with asthma or COPD. We hypothesised that copy number variation of these genes may play a role in lung function in the general population and in COPD and asthma risk. We undertook copy number typing of this locus in 1149 adult and 689 children using a paralogue ratio test and investigated association with COPD, asthma and lung function. Replication of findings was assessed in a larger independent sample of COPD cases and smoking controls. We found evidence for an association of beta-defensin copy number with COPD in the adult cohort (OR = 1.4, 95%CI:1.02–1.92, P = 0.039) but this finding, and findings from a previous study, were not replicated in a larger follow-up sample(OR = 0.89, 95%CI:0.72–1.07, P = 0.217). No robust evidence of association with asthma in children was observed. We found no evidence for association between beta-defensin copy number and lung function in the general populations. Our findings suggest that previous reports of association of beta-defensin copy number with COPD should be viewed with caution. Suboptimal measurement of copy number can lead to spurious associations. Further beta-defensin copy number measurement in larger sample sizes of COPD cases and children with asthma are needed.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Respiratory Medicine
University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084192
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2016 08:09
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 20:45
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/32656

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