Scientists have identified a new gene that plays key role in the development of asthma. The findings reported in the journal Nature Genetics are believed to help in the development of better treatments for the chronic disease.
Asthma is an inflammation of the air passage that narrows the airway which carries air from the mouth and nose to the lungs. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, nearly 300 million people across the globe are asthmatic and the chronic disease claims around 2,50,000 lives every year.
The University of Copenhagen study analysed nearly 3,700 participants, including 1,200 paediatric patients and 2,500 healthy adults.
The Danish researchers tested the participants' DNA and found that gene CDHR3 increased the risk of childhood asthma.
"Our results show that asthma attacks requiring young children to be hospitalised are usually genetically related. Genes play a far greater role in children with asthma than in adults. By screening children's DNA we've discovered that a gene called CDHR3, which was previously unassociated with the disease, plays a key role for the development of asthma, particularly in the very early years of life," Dr Klaus Bønnelykke, said in a news release.
"Our study supports the theory that asthma is not just a single disease, but a complex of several sub-types that should be genetically mapped and understood individually if we are to prevent and treat the disease properly in future."
Previous research has shown the role of gene ORMDL3, ADAM33, PHF11, DPP10, GRPA and SPINK5 in asthma. Apart from these, following are some factors listed by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America that trigger asthma:
* Sudden changes in the weather
* Cigarette smoke
* Respiratory infections like flu or cold
* Allergens in the air like pollens dust or moulds
* Air pollutants
* Strong emotions like excitement or stress