BACKGROUND: It is unknown to what extent adult lung function genes affect lung function development from birth to childhood. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to study the association of candidate genetic variants with neonatal lung function and lung function development until age 7 years. METHODS: Lung function measurement by means of spirometry with the raised-volume thoracoabdominal compression technique and bronchial responsiveness to methacholine challenge were assessed in 411 high-risk newborns from the Copenhagen Prospective Study on Asthma in Childhood 2000 (COPSAC2000) cohort. Measures were repeated at age 7 years. Genetic risk scores were calculated based on reported single nucleotide polymorphisms for adult lung function (FEV1/forced expiratory vital capacity [FVC] ratio and FEV1) as the number of risk alleles weighted on known effect size. These genetic risk scores were analyzed against lung function measures as z scores at birth (forced expiratory volume in 0.5 seconds [FEV0.5], forced expiratory flow at 50% of functional vital capacity [FEF50], and provocative dose of methacholine causing a 15% decrease in lung function [PD15]) and at age 7 years (FEV1, FEF50, and provocative dose of methacholine causing a 20% decrease in lung function [PD20]) and with development from birth to age 7 years (FEV0.5/1, FEF50, and PD15/20). RESULTS: The genetic risk scores were not associated with lung function measures at age 1 month, but the FEV1/FVC genetic risk score was associated with reduced FEF50 values at age 7 years (P = .01) and similarly with reduced growth in FEF50 from birth to age 7 years (P = .02). This score was also associated with increased bronchial responsiveness (reduced PD20) at age 7 years (P = .02) and change in responsiveness from birth to age 7 years (P = .05). CONCLUSION: Lung function genetic variants identified in adults were not associated with neonatal lung function or bronchial responsiveness but with the development of these lung function measures during early childhood, suggesting a window of opportunity for interventions targeting these genetic mechanisms.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2014, Vol 134, Issue 5