A methodology to establish a database to study gene environment interactions for childhood asthma

Stephen W. Turner, Jon G. Ayres, Tatiana V. Macfarlane, Anil Mehta, Gita Mehta, Colin N. Palmer, Steve Cunningham, Tim Adams, Krishnan Aniruddhan, Claire Bell, Donna Corrigan, Jason Cunningham, Andrew Duncan, Gerard Hunt, Richard Leece, Una MacFadyen, Jonathan McCormick, Sally McLeish, Andrew Mitra, Deborah MillerElizabeth Waxman, Alan Webb, Slawomir Wojcik, Somnath Mukhopadhyay, Donald Macgregor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Gene-environment interactions are likely to explain some of the heterogeneity in childhood asthma. Here, we describe the methodology and experiences in establishing a database for childhood asthma designed to study gene-environment interactions (PAGES - Paediatric Asthma Gene Environment Study).

    Methods: Children with asthma and under the care of a respiratory paediatrician are being recruited from 15 hospitals between 2008 and 2011. An asthma questionnaire is completed and returned by post. At a routine clinic visit saliva is collected for DNA extraction. Detailed phenotyping in a proportion of children includes spirometry, bronchodilator response (BDR), skin prick reactivity, exhaled nitric oxide and salivary cotinine. Dietary and quality of life questionnaires are completed. Data are entered onto a purpose-built database.

    Results: To date 1045 children have been invited to participate and data collected in 501 (48%). The mean age (SD) of participants is 8.6 (3.9) years, 57% male. DNA has been collected in 436 children. Spirometry has been obtained in 172 children, mean % predicted (SD) FEV1 97% (15) and median (IQR) BDR is 5% (2, 9). There were differences in age, socioeconomic status, severity and % FEV1 between the different centres (p <= 0.024). Reasons for non-participation included parents not having time to take part, children not attending clinics and, in a small proportion, refusal to take part.

    Conclusions: It is feasible to establish a national database to study gene-environment interactions within an asthmatic paediatric population; there are barriers to participation and some different characteristics in individuals recruited from different centres. Recruitment to our study continues and is anticipated to extend current understanding of asthma heterogeneity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number107
    Pages (from-to)-
    Number of pages11
    JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2010


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