Bernard S. Stikker, Rudi W. Hendriks, Ralph Stadhouders
Allergy. Accepted Author Manuscript. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.15666
Asthma is a complex and heterogeneous chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Alongside environmental factors, asthma susceptibility is strongly influenced by genetics. Given its high prevalence and our incomplete understanding of the mechanisms underlying disease susceptibility, asthma is frequently studied in genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which have identified thousands of genetic variants associated with asthma development. Virtually all these genetic variants reside in non-coding genomic regions, which has obscured the functional impact of asthma-associated variants and their translation into disease-relevant mechanisms. Recent advances in genomics technology and epigenetics now offer methods to link genetic variants to gene regulatory elements embedded within non-coding regions, which have started to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying the complex (epi)genetics of asthma. Here we provide an integrated overview of (epi)genetic variants associated with asthma, focusing on efforts to link these disease associations to biological insight into asthma pathophysiology using state-of-the-art genomics methodology. Finally, we provide a perspective as to how decoding the genetic and epigenetic basis of asthma has the potential to transform clinical management of asthma and to predict the risk of asthma development.