Judith Smith, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Understanding How a Gene Regulates Viral Asthma Triggers

Judith Smith, M.D., Ph.D.

Genes and environmental factors, such as early infection with respiratory viruses, increase the risk for childhood asthma. Studies in animals and people have increasingly implicated a gene called ORMDL3 in asthma development. Gene variants that increase ORMDL3 increase asthma risk. In addition, stimulation of human blood cells with rhinovirus, an asthma trigger, increases production of ORMDL3. We have found that decreasing levels of ORMDL3 diminishes rhinovirus replication in the epithelial cells lining the airways. We will study how the gene regulates viral asthma triggers. We will determine which function of ORMDL3 controls rhinovirus replication using drugs and genetic approaches. This research will lead to therapies targeting ORMDL3 in asthma.

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