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Ozone and PM2.5 Exposure is Associated with Nasal Key Driver Gene Expression in People with Asthma

AAAAI News Release

February 5, 2024

Candace Archie, Communications & Public Relations Manager
(414) 272-6071

Six key driver genes were identified for ozone and three key drivers for PM2.5 exposure.

MILWAUKEE – Nasal key driver gene expression representing T-cell mediated immune processes is associated with ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure in people with asthma according to new research being presented at the 2024 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting.
“Poor air quality here in New York and around the world has become increasingly common,” says primary author Yoojin Chun, MS, computational biologist in the research group of Professor Supinda Bunyavanich, MD, MPH, MPhil at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “I feel very motivated to study how air pollution drives molecular processes in people with asthma who have an especially hard time breathing when air quality is bad. The key drivers we identified in this study are potentially intervenable targets to help those with asthma.”
Researchers recruited 167 participants with mild to severe persistent asthma from the New York metropolitan area to explore the effects of ozone and PM2.5 exposure. Multiple races and ethnicities were represented among study participants, 3% Asian, 18% Black, 34% Latino, 38% White and 8% other, and 43% of participants were female. Daily levels of air pollutants were measured by the United States Environmental Protection Agency at stations closest to the participant’s homes. After nasal samples were collected, RNA sequencing, differential expression and key driver analyses were performed. The mean Asthma Control Test score was 16.6, and 31% of patients had a forced expiratory volume (FEV1) percent predicted at less than 80%.
In the study, researchers identified six key driver genes for ozone and three key driver genes for PM2.5 exposure. These key driver genes are predicted to shape downstream responses. FGL2, previously reported as a master regulator of asthma, was the most upstream key driver for both ozone and PM2.5. CLC and TNFRSF10C were distinct upstream key drivers for ozone and PM2.5, respectively. CLC has previously been associated with multi-morbidity for asthma, dermatitis and rhinitis.
The findings suggest exposure to ozone and PM2.5 in individuals with asthma is associated with nasal key driver gene expression representing T-cell mediated immune processes. This research expands on the understanding of PM2.5 and ozone as known triggers for asthma exacerbations. Identifying molecular key drivers of ozone and PM2.5 effects on the airway expands mechanistic understanding of air pollution effects on asthma.
Visit to learn more about air pollutants and asthma. Research presented at the 2024 AAAAI Annual Meeting, February 23-26 in Washington, DC, is published in an online supplement to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) is the leading membership organization of more than 7,100 allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and other professionals with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 7,100 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries and is the go-to resource for patients living with allergies, asthma and immune deficiency disorders.