Asthma And Genetics: MTHFR Included

A recent study led by Carole Ober, PhD, Blum-Riese professor and chair of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, found few clear links between gene mutations and asthma risk.  However, MTHFR was one of the three links that was discovered.  The International Business Times discusses the study HERE.

My comments are below:

Medical research is often both revealing and confusing. As a physician caring for both adults and children, I can not count the number of patients with asthma who have multiple family members with either sinus allergies, asthma, or eczema. With that clinical experience I question studies like this which say there is little genetic contribution to asthma. Instead, it should read “Study not yet able to find genetic connection which we all believe exists”


Besides that little soapbox statement, I find it interesting that mutations in the MTHFR gene were one of the three with some correlation. As a physician who deals with this gene and its methylation cycle on a regular basis, I can say that most patients with an MTHFR mutation do not have asthma. Instead, I would assert that the methylation cycle of which MTHFR is one piece of the puzzle, affects immune function and thus interplays with asthma.

The numerous factors, products, and contributors to the methylation cycle interact with inflammation and immune function at many points.  I look forward to further genetic research in this area in coming years.  Our understanding of the methylation cycle will undoubtedly advance our ability to care for chronic diseases which have stumped us for decades.

From this study, this may include some cases of asthma.

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