Background Clara cell secretory protein (CC16) is expressed primarily in the respiratory tract and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that protects the airway from inflammation. The associations of the A38G polymorphism in this gene with asymptomatic airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), which is considered a risk factor for future asthma in adults, and the development of adult-onset asthma are unclear. Objective To evaluate the association of the CC16 A38G polymorphism with asymptomatic AHR in healthy young adults and the development of adult-onset asthma and the association between plasma CC16 level according to this genotype and asymptomatic AHR. Methods Nonspecific AHR was measured in 154 asymptomatic, young, healthy adults using a continuous methacholine inhalation method. The cumulative dose values of inhaled methacholine measured at the inflection point at which respiratory conductance started to decrease (Dmin) were used as an index of AHR. Case-control analysis was performed for the association between this polymorphism and the development of asthma in 1,086 unrelated Japanese subjects (504 subjects with asthma and 582 healthy subjects). Results The 38AA + AG genotype was associated with lower Dmin values and lower plasma CC16 levels (P =.012 and.020). There was a significant positive correlation between Dmin values and plasma CC16 levels (P =.012). In the case-control study, the 38AA + AG genotype was significantly associated with late-onset asthma (onset at >40 years; odds ratio, 1.63; P =.016). Conclusion These results suggest that the CC16 A38G polymorphism may play a role in asymptomatic AHR and contribute to the development of late-onset asthma.
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