It is well known that depression is associated with asthma symptoms. We assessed the combined effects of genetic factors and depression on asthma symptom severity using Bayesian network (BN) analysis. The common 100 top-ranked single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were obtained from two genome-wide association studies of symptom severity in two childhood asthmatics trials (CAMP (Childhood Asthma Management Program) and CARE (Childhood Asthma Research and Education)). Using SNPs plus five discretized variables (depression, anxiety, age, sex, and race), we performed BN analysis in 529 CAMP subjects. We identified two nodes (depression and rs4672619 mapping to ERBB4 (Erb-B2 receptor tyrosine kinase 4)) that were within the Markov neighborhood of the symptom node in the network and then evaluated the interactive effects of depressive status and rs4672619 genotypes on asthma symptom severity. In childhood asthmatics with homozygous reference alleles, severe depression was related to less severe symptoms. However, in childhood asthmatics with heterozygous alleles and homozygous variant alleles, depression and symptom severity showed a positive correlation (interaction permutation P value = 0.019). We then tried to evaluate whether the interactive effects that we found were sustained in another independent cohort of elderly asthmatics. Contrary to the findings from childhood asthmatics, elderly asthmatics with homozygous reference alleles showed a positive correlation between depression and symptom severity, and elderly asthmatics with heterozygous alleles and homozygous variant alleles showed a negative correlation (interaction permutation P value = 0.003). In conclusion, we have identified a novel SNP, rs4672619, that shows interactive effects with depression on asthma symptom severity in childhood and elderly asthmatics in opposite directions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry