Pediatric asthma: social, environmental, and potential genetic disparities across racial/ethnic groups




Raju, Shilpa
Moss, Katelyn
Cross, Deanna


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Purpose: Asthma affects nearly 300 million people worldwide and is the most common chronic condition in children. The purpose of our study was to identify potential disparities between racial and ethnic groups in children with asthma. We analyzed the social and environmental factors contributing to asthma as well as the potential genetic factors. Methods: A literature review was conducted using key words (asthma, children, race, etc.) on PubMed and Center for Children's Health to determine what factors affected asthma diagnosis. To identify genetic contributions to asthma, we used resources such as ClinVar and dbSNP to identify genes associated with asthma. Results: Housing quality, pollution, discrimination, and place of residence all contributed to disparities in asthma prevalence among the pediatric population. Black patients have 1.25 times the asthma prevalence and twice the mortality rates of the U.S general population. Compared with non-Hispanic white children, Asian Indian, Native American and multiple-race children had higher odds for current asthma. Hispanic patients were similar in prevalence patterns to black patients. Genetic loci on 17q21, near IL1RL1, TSLP and IL33 are associated with asthma risk in three ethnic groups while the PYHIN1 and PTCHD3 genes are associated with asthma in the African American population. We identified 19 known asthma-related genes that are still not well characterized for racial/ethnic allelic differences. Conclusions: Environmental factors leading to the disparities in asthma diagnosis have been studied extensively. Further research is needed to analyze gene associations with asthma in ethnic groups and gene- environment interactions.