Study Reveals that Autoimmunity Plays Role in Development of COPD


Autoimmunity plays a major role in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published on August 16, 2018.

This study was conducted by the researchers at the Georgia State University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Human genome information that are stored in Vanderbilt’s DNA biobank were analyzed by the researchers for the study.

A group of diseases that leads to blockage in airflow and breathing-related problems is called as COPD. The link between genetic variants in COPD and clinical phenotypes, or physical characteristics such as disease history were examined by the researchers in this study. This was done clearly understand the biological mechanisms underlying COPD.

A phenome-wide association study of 16 previously reported COPD-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were identified from a genome-wide association study was performed by the researchers by using genetic data of patients who participated in BioVU.  Out of 18,335 adults of European descent whose data was provided, 1,805 cases of COPD were identified. They defined phenotypes by using ICD-9 codes, or unique codes for different symptoms of disease. Dr. Xiangming Ji, assistant professor in the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions, said, “This SNP is also associated with several autoimmune diseases, like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, which suggests a genetic link between autoimmune disease and COPD. Many years ago, people believed that one of the causes of COPD is because the autoimmune system attacks its own lungs. We kind of confirmed that by our big data.” Moreover, researchers are hoping that further studies will show how normal SNPs are associated with COPD


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