Genetic variants contribute to mold allergen sensitization in adult asthma

Published Online: May 17, 2011

Allergic sensitization to molds is a risk factor for asthma and asthma severity. Mold sensitization depends strongly on geographic conditions and environmental mold allergen exposure. Heritable factors contribute to mold sensitization as well, but to date, only very few studies investigated the role of genetic variants in mold sensitization. In an upcoming issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Smit et al. used data from 1,243 adults who participated in the French Epidemiological Study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA) follow up. Sensitization to some allergens (Aspergillus, Cladosporium herbarum, Alternaria alternata) was assessed by skin prick test.

The authors show for the first time that a joint effect of the genes integrin, beta 3 (ITGB3) and Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) increases susceptibility to mold sensitization among adults with asthma. These results are consistent with the biological interaction between integrin β3 and TLR 2 that was recently demonstrated, suggesting an important role of the integrin β3-TLR2 complex in the innate immune response to fungal agents. The authors suggested that an altered function of this complex could lead to an increased risk of mold sensitization. Future studies need to replicate these findings, and functional experiments are needed to elucidate the mechanism by which ITGB3 and TLR2 variants influence susceptibility to mold sensitization.


The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology