Contribution of alpha- and beta-defensins to lung function decline and infection in smokers: An association study

Alison M. Wallace, Jian Qing He, Kelly M. Burkett, Jian Ruan, John E. Connett, Nicholas R. Anthonisen, Peter D. Paré, Andrew J. Sandford

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26 Scopus citations


Background: Alpha-defensins, which are major constituents of neutrophil azurophilic granules, and beta-defensins, which are expressed in airway epithelial cells, could contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by amplifying cigarette smoke-induced and infection-induced inflammatory reactions leading to lung injury. In Japanese and Chinese populations, two different beta-defensin-I polymorphisms have been associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease phenotypes. We conducted population-based association studies to test whether alpha-defensin and beta-defensin polymorphisms influenced smokers' susceptibility to lung function decline and susceptibility to lower respiratory infection in two groups of white participants in the Lung Health Study (275 = fast decline in lung function and 304 = no decline in lung function). Methods: Subjects were genotyped for the alpha-defensin-1/ alpha-defensin-3 copy number polymorphism and four beta-defensin-1 polymorphisms (G-20A, C-44G, G-52A and Va13811e). Results: There were no associations between individual polymorphisms or imputed haplotypes and rate of decline in lung function or susceptibility to infection. Conclusion: These findings suggest that, in a white population, the defensin polymorphisms tested may not be of importance in determining who develops abnormally rapid lung function decline or is susceptible to developing lower respiratory infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number76
JournalRespiratory research
StatePublished - May 15 2006


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