The Relationship Between Stress and Asthma

LungsThe Celedón Lab has shown that childhood abuse is associated with asthma morbidity. Building on this work, the researchers then demonstrated that genetic and epigenetic variation in a susceptibility gene for post-traumatic stress disorder (ADCYAP1R1) is associated with childhood asthma, and that exposure to violence is associated with both ADCYAP1R1 methylation and asthma.

Next, they showed that both psychosocial stress and a genetic variant in ADCYAP1R1 are associated with reduced response to short-acting bronchodilators in children with asthma, and that this is likely explained by neuro-hormonal down-regulation of the gene ADRB2.

With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Celedón is now examining whether changes in DNA methylation and gene expression induced by exposure to violence or chronic stress lead to asthma or reduced response to treatment in minority children.