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Polymorphisms of CF modifier genes : their relationship to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection and severity of disease in CF patients Yung, Rossitta Pui Ki


Cystic Fibrosis is one of the most common genetic recessive diseases among Caucasians and is caused by mutations in the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene on chromosome 7. There are different classes of CFTR mutation, leading to differences in disease severity among patients. In addition to the CFTR genotype, secondary genetic factors, modifier genes, also influence CF phenotypes. Due to the dysfunction of CFTR protein and production of thickened mucus, bacterial infection in the lungs is favored and can lead to further clinical complications in CF patients. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the most common bacteria detected among patients. The aim of this project was to investigate four candidate modifier genes, Factor B, Complement Factor 3, Toll-like Receptor 4 and Heme oxygenase-1, which might affect the status of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. A total of 22 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected in these four genes and they were tested against five phenotypic traits, including age of diagnosis, FEV1% predicted andstandard deviation value, age of first Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection status. Among the selected SNPs, both case-control studies and family-based analysis were performed in order to establish any correlation between the genotypes and the phenotypes. In addition, haplotype analysis was performed to determine whether there was interaction between SNPs or whether there were unidentified SNPs in the vicinity of the selected ones that might contribute to the observed phenotypic traits. Among the 22 chosen SNPs, 13 of them were found to be significantly linked to one or more of the tested phenotypes. The three most significant associations were BF_2557 with lung function, HMOX1_9531 with lung function and BF_7202 with age of diagnosis. Several haplotypes were significantly associated with one of the five phenotypes. There was no evidence for the presence of unidentified SNPs or interaction between SNPs. Most of haplotype associations were likely due to the presence of a single SNP which was found to be significantly linked to the phenotype. Conclusively, both SNPs and haplotype analyses suggest that the four candidate genes are modifiers of disease severity in CF.

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