A review of published literature shows that heme oxygenase-1 may have therapeutic uses in COPD.

Microsatellite dinucleotide (GT)n length polymorphisms on the gene HMOX1, which is located on chromosome 22q13.1, may “result in the impaired transcriptional regulation and decreased expression of HO-1 in individuals that carry the long (L) allele of this polymorphism,” say the researchers. Several diseases, including cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease, are associated with the HMOX1 promoter polymorphisms.

“Additional studies reported associations of the long allele of (GT)n with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” among other respiratory conditions, report the researchers One recent study found that there was “no association between 5 SNPs and HMOX1 gene expression or lung functional decline in patients with COPD” leading the reviewers to conclude, “association studies, when positive, have suggested that a genetically dependent downregulation of HO-1 expression may arise in subpopulations possibly linked to increased susceptibility to oxidative stress, inflammation, and associated diseases” though they caution that such a hypothesis is inconclusive and more research is necessary.

The review covers several other studies which investigated the possible therapeutic uses of HO-1 for conditions other than COPD. The reviewers conclude suggest, “the putative role of HO-1 in the modulation of the adaptive immune response represents an area of active investigation.”

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