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Asthma is a common respiratory disease that is characterized by bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airway obstruction due to chronic airway inflammation. Atopic asthma is a typical IgE-mediated disease in which the enhanced production of IgE is driven by the activation of Th2 cells, which release a distinct pattern of cytokines, including interleukin 4 (IL4) and IL3, in response to specific antigen presentation. To evaluate the methylation status of the whole genomes of bronchial mucosa tissues from subjects who lacked or had sensitization to Dermatophagoides farina (Df) and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dp). The genome-wide DNA methylation levels in the bronchial mucosa tissues of atopic asthmatics (N=10), non-atopic asthmatics (N=7), and normal controls (N=7) were examined using microarrays. In the bronchial mucosa of atopic asthmatics, hypermethylation was detected at 6 loci in 6 genes, while hypomethylation was detected at 49 loci in 48 genes compared to those of non-atopic asthmatics. Genes that were assigned the ontologies of multicellular organismal process, response to organic substance, hormone metabolic process, and growth factor receptor binding were hypomethylated. The methylation levels in the mucosa of asthmatics and normal controls were similar. The bronchial mucosa of asthmatics who are atopic to Df or Dp have characteristic methylation patterns for 52 genes. The genes and pathways identified in the present study may be associated with the presence of atopy in asthmatics and therefore represent attractive targets for future research.


Yoon-Jeong Kim, Sung-Woo Park, Tae-Hoon Kim, Jong-Sook Park, Hyun Sub Cheong, Hyoung Doo Shin, Choon-Sik Park. Genome-wide methylation profiling of the bronchial mucosa of asthmatics: relationship to atopy. BMC medical genetics. 2013;14:39

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PMID: 23521807

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