Cigars, Cigarettes, Tiparillos, COPD?

COPD study implicates a Vitamin D genetic linkage

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) All types of smoking is considered a major risk factor for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but not all smokers develop COPD.

Researchers believe there must be some sort of genetic link that helps decide which smokers develop COPD and which do not.

As the vitamin D metabolic pathway has been implicated in the development of COPD in other studies, a new study from Montreal builds more evidence that a gene variant in vitamin D pathways is implicated in developing COPD.

"Gene variant seems to play a role in deciding which smokers will develop COPD."

Study author Audrey Poon, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at Meakins-Christie Laboratories, McGill University Health Centre in Montreal  reports the results indicate  this gene variant is associated with development of COPD in Caucasian men and supports the building evidence that vitamin D metabolic pathways affect the risk of developing COPD. 

Poon's study investigated gene variants in two vitamin D pathways and their influence on developing  COPD.

Poon continues to share that variants of genes controlling vitamin D's metabolism and function have been associated with COPD and other lung diseases, but results have not been conclusive and sometimes contradict one another.

Before the study, Poon hypothesized  there  would be an association of variants in one of these genes with the development of COPD. What wasn't expected was to find this particular variant in the VDR gene would also be associated. This association of the VDR gene and COPD has not been reported before.

The Study

  • DNA data from 1,215 men in VA study showed the genotypes of 24 variants in the vitamin D receptor gene and 12 in the vitamin D binding protein gene
  • Participants were free of known chronic conditions, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, chronic lung disease, asthma and diabetes at the time of recruitment
  • VA study also offered participant data from repeated lung function measures and smoking information over the course of 40 years
  • Lung function data measured the time it took for participants to develop COPD, evaluating all 36 gene variants
  • Found variant rs3847987 of the VDR gene was found to influence the time to onset of COPD in the study population
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 16, 2011
Last Updated:
May 17, 2011