Genetic Variation in Cytokines, Asthma, and Atopy: The Role of IL-4/IL-13 Pathway Polymorphisms

  • Michaela Schedel
  • Michael Kabesch
Part of the Allergy Frontiers book series (ALLERGY, volume 2)

Cytokines play a fundamental role in the activation and persistence of inflammatory processes in the pathogenesis of asthma as they have the ability to induce many of its characteristic pro-inflammatory effects. Yet, the influence of a single cytokine in the development of asthma is not easy to predict as numerous cytokine signaling pathways may be involved in the disease. Within the past years genetic variations in cytokines were intensively studied as putative asthma susceptibility genes.

Of all cytokine pathways involved in asthma, the IL-4/IL-13 pathway is one of the best characterized and will herein be discussed exemplary for many other cascades for which not nearly as much data has yet been published. The IL-4/IL-13 pathway regulates the switching of immunoglobulin (Ig) from IgM to IgE, which is a crucial step for the development of an atopic immune response.

Due to manifold actions and interactions of cytokines, pathways rather than single gene effects should be studied to better understand the complex nature of common diseases of complex genetic traits. Network and interaction analyses may help to select a panel of SNPs in the future which may be capable of improving disease prediction in asthma and atopy.


Allergy Clin Immunol Atopic Disease Asthma Susceptibility German Multicenter Atopy Study 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaela Schedel
    • 1
  • Michael Kabesch
    • 1
  1. 1.University Children's Hospital, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Lindwurmstrasse 4MünchenGermany

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