Interactive effects of antioxidant genes and air pollution on respiratory function and airway disease: a HuGE review
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Susceptibility to the respiratory effects of air pollution varies between individuals. Although some evidence suggests higher susceptibility for subjects carrying variants of antioxidant genes, findings from gene-pollution interaction studies conflict in terms of the presence and direction of interactions. The authors conducted a systematic review on antioxidant gene-pollution interactions which included 15 studies, with 12 supporting the presence of interactions. For the glutathione S-transferase M1 gene (GSTM1) (n=10 studies), only 1 study found interaction with the null genotype alone, although 5 observed interactions when GSTM1 was evaluated jointly with other genes (mainly NAD(P)H dehydrogenase [quinone] 1 (NQO1)). All studies on the glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1) Ile105Val polymorphism (n=11) provided some evidence of interaction, but findings conflicted in terms of risk allele. Results were negative for glutathione S-transferase T1 (GSTT1) (n=3) and positive for heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX-1) (n=2). Meta-analysis could not be performed because there were insufficient data available for any specific gene-pollutant-outcome combination. Overall the evidence supports the presence of gene-pollution interactions, although which pollutant interacts with which gene is unclear. However, issues regarding multiple testing, selective reporting, and publication bias raise the possibility of false-positive findings. Larger studies with greater accuracy of pollution assessment and improved quality of conduct and reporting are required.