Genetic variants of IL-13 signalling and human asthma and atopy

A. Heinzmann, X. Q. Mao, M. Akaiwa, R. T. Kreomer, P. S. Gao, K. Ohshima, R. Umeshita, Y. Abe, S. Braun, T. Yamashita, M. H. Roberts, R. Sugimoto, K. Arima, Y. Arinobu, B. Yu, S. Kruse, T. Enomoto, Y. Dake, M. Kawai, S. ShimazuS. Sasaki, C. N. Adra, M. Kitaichi, H. Inoue, K. Yamauchi, N. Tomichi, F. Kurimoto, N. Hamasaki, J. M. Hopkin, K. Izuhara, T. Shirakawa, K. A. Deichmann

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389 Citations (Scopus)


Asthma and atopy show epidemiological association and are biologically linked by T-helper type 2 (T(h)2) cytokine-driven inflammatory mechanisms. IL-4 operates through the IL-4 receptor (IL-4R, a heterodimer of IL-4Rα and either γc or IL-13Rα1) and IL-13 operates through IL-13R (a heterodimer of IL-4Ra and IL-13Rα1) to promote IgE synthesis and IgE-based mucosal inflammation which typify atopy. Recent animal model data suggest that IL-13 is a central cytokine in promoting asthma, through the stimulation of bronchial epithelial mucus secretion and smooth muscle hyper-reactivity. We investigated the role of common genetic variants of IL-13 and IL-13Rα1 in human asthma, considering IgE levels. A novel variant of human IL-13, Gln110Arg, on chromosome 5q31, associated with asthma rather than IgE levels in case-control populations from Britain and Japan [peak odds ratio (OR) = 2.31, 95% CI 1.33-4.00]; the variant also predicted asthma and higher serum IL-13 levels in a general, Japanese paediatric population. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that both subunits of IL-13R are prominently expressed in bronchial epithelium and smooth muscle from asthmatic subjects. Detailed molecular modelling analyses indicate that residue 110 of IL-13, the site of the charge-modifying variants Arg and Gln, is important in the internal constitution of the ligand and crucial in ligand-receptor interaction. A non-coding variant of IL-13Rα1, A1398G, on chromosome Xq13, associated primarily with high IgE levels (OR = 3.38 in males, 1.10 in females) rather than asthma. Thus, certain variants of IL-13 signalling are likely to be important promoters of human asthma; detailed functional analysis of their actions is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-559
Number of pages11
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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