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      Two CHRN susceptibility variants for COPD are genetic determinants of emphysema and chest computed tomography manifestations in Chinese patients

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          Quantitative computed tomography (CT) measures of emphysema have been shown to be associated with increased mortality in humans, but genetic variants affecting the quantitative parameters of chest CT that measure degree of emphysema have not yet been examined. In this study, using available chest CT data from a total of 344 emphysema patients, we assessed the correlations between five chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) susceptibility variants in the cholinergic receptor nicotinic ( CHRN) genes and the degree of emphysema and chest CT manifestations. We verified that most of the parameters were significantly correlated with the degree of emphysema. Compared to rs76071148AA and TT genotype carriers, the rs76071148AT genotype carriers exhibited a decreased probability of having severe emphysema (odds ratio [OR] =0.63, 95% confidence interval [CI] =0.40–0.99), whereas the variant rs8040868C allele was negatively correlated with the emphysema index ( P=0.002). Interestingly, further stratification analysis grouped by spirometry-diagnosed COPD status revealed that the variant rs8040868C (CT + CC) genotypes exerted a protective effect against severe emphysema with borderline significance (OR =0.41, 95% CI =0.16–1.05) and affected the mean lung density, emphysema index, ratio of airway wall thickness to airway dimensions (AWT/AD), and AWT grade in spirometry-diagnosed non-COPD subjects. The rs76071148 variant was also significantly associated with AWT/AD and AWT grade in those individuals. In summary, we determined that rs8040868 and rs76071148 are promising indicators of the degree of emphysema and chest CT manifestations, especially in spirometry-diagnosed non-COPD subjects.

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          Most cited references 18

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          A susceptibility locus for lung cancer maps to nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes on 15q25.

          Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death worldwide, with over one million cases annually. To identify genetic factors that modify disease risk, we conducted a genome-wide association study by analysing 317,139 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 1,989 lung cancer cases and 2,625 controls from six central European countries. We identified a locus in chromosome region 15q25 that was strongly associated with lung cancer (P = 9 x 10(-10)). This locus was replicated in five separate lung cancer studies comprising an additional 2,513 lung cancer cases and 4,752 controls (P = 5 x 10(-20) overall), and it was found to account for 14% (attributable risk) of lung cancer cases. Statistically similar risks were observed irrespective of smoking status or propensity to smoke tobacco. The association region contains several genes, including three that encode nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits (CHRNA5, CHRNA3 and CHRNB4). Such subunits are expressed in neurons and other tissues, in particular alveolar epithelial cells, pulmonary neuroendocrine cells and lung cancer cell lines, and they bind to N'-nitrosonornicotine and potential lung carcinogens. A non-synonymous variant of CHRNA5 that induces an amino acid substitution (D398N) at a highly conserved site in the second intracellular loop of the protein is among the markers with the strongest disease associations. Our results provide compelling evidence of a locus at 15q25 predisposing to lung cancer, and reinforce interest in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors as potential disease candidates and chemopreventative targets.
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            Mortality by level of emphysema and airway wall thickness.

            There is limited knowledge of the prognostic value of quantitative computed tomography (CT) measures of emphysema and airway wall thickness (AWT) on mortality. To examine 8-year mortality in relation to CT-measured emphysema and AWT, and assess if potential impact of these predictors remained after adjustment for lung function. In the Norwegian GenKOLS study of 2003-2005, 947 ever-smokers (49% with COPD) aged 40-85 years performed spirometry and CT examination. Mortality data from 2003-2011 were gathered from the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry. CT emphysema % low-attenuation areas (%LAA) and standardized measure for AWT (AWT-Pi10) were main predictors. We performed Laplace regression for survival data, estimating survival time for specified population percentiles within each emphysema category. Models were adjusted for sex, FEV1, COPD status, age, body mass index, smoking, and inflation level. During 8-year follow-up all-cause mortality rate was 15%. Although 4% of the subjects with %LAA less than 3 died, 18% with %LAA 3-10 and 44% with %LAA greater than or equal to 10 died. After adjustment, the comparable percentile subjects with medium and high emphysema had 19 months shorter survival than subjects who died in the lowest emphysema category. Subjects with %LAA greater than or equal to 10 had 33 and 37 months shorter survival than the lowest emphysema category with regard to respiratory and cardiovascular mortality, respectively. No significant associations were found between %LAA and cancer and lung cancer mortality. AWT did not predict mortality independently, but a positive interaction with emphysema was observed. AWT affected mortality with increasing degree of emphysema, whereas CT measure of emphysema was a strong independent mortality predictor.
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              The 15q24/25 susceptibility variant for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with emphysema.

              Genome-wide association studies have identified genetic variants in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) on chromosome 15q24/25 as a risk for nicotine dependence, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Assessment of bronchial obstruction by spirometry, typically used for diagnosing COPD, fails, however, to detect emphysema. To determine the association of the 15q24/25 locus with emphysema. The rs1051730 variant on 15q24/25 was genotyped in two independent white cohorts of 661 and 456 heavy smokers. Participants underwent pulmonary function tests and computed tomography (CT) of the chest, and took questionnaires assessing smoking behavior and health status. The rs1051730 A-allele correlated with reduced FEV(1) and with increased susceptibility for bronchial obstruction with a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 1.33 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11-1.61; P = 0.0026). In both studies a correlation between the rs1051730 A-allele and lung diffusing capacity (Dl(CO)) and diffusing capacity per unit alveolar volume (Kco) was observed. Consistently, the rs1051730 A-allele conferred increased risk for emphysema as assessed by CT (P = 0.0097 and P = 0.019), with a pooled OR of 1.39 (CI = 1.15-1.68; P = 0.00051). Visual emphysema scores and scores based on densities quantified on CT were more pronounced in A-allele carriers, indicating that rs1051730 correlates with the severity of emphysema. The 15q24/25 locus in nAChR is associated with the presence and severity of emphysema. This association was independent of pack-years smoking, suggesting that nAChR is causally involved in alveolar destruction as a potentially shared pathogenic mechanism in lung cancer and COPD.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                15 May 2017
                : 12
                : 1447-1455
                [1 ]The State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou
                [2 ]The Pulmonary Medicine,Guangzhou First People’s Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Pixin Ran, The State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, 151 Yanjiang Rd., Guangzhou, Guangdong 51012, People’s Republic of China, Email pxran@
                Ziwen Zhao, The Pulmonary Medicine, Guangzhou First People’s Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, No 602 renminbei Rd., Guangzhou, Guangdong 510182, People’s Republic of China, Email zhaozw@
                © 2017 Zhao et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, chrn variant, ct manifestation, emphysema


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