Asthma exacerbations: the genes behind the scenes.

24 Nov 2022
Herrera-Luis E, Forno E, Celedón JC, Pino-Yanes M

The clinical and socioeconomic burden of asthma exacerbations (AEs) represents a major public health problem. In the last four years, there has been an increase in ethnic diversity in candidate-gene and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of AEs, which in the latter case has led to the identification of novel genes and underlying pathobiological processes. Pharmacogenomics, admixture mapping analyses, and the combination of multiple "omic" layers have contributed to prioritizing genomic regions of interest and/or understanding the functional consequences of genetic variation. Despite this, the field still lags behind the genomics of asthma, where a vast compendium of genetic approaches has been used (e.g., gene-environment interactions, next-generation sequencing, or polygenic risk scores). Furthermore, the roles of the DNA methylome and histone modifications in AEs have been scarcely investigated, and microRNA findings remain to be validated in independent studies. Likewise, the most recent transcriptomic studies highlight the importance of host-airway microbiome interaction in the modulation of AEs risk. Leveraging -omics and deep-phenotyping data from sub-types or homogenous subgroups of patients will be crucial to overcome the inherent heterogeneity of AEs, and boost the identification of potential therapeutic targets and the implementation of precision medicine in clinical practice for AEs.