What causes allergy-related asthma?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: John J Oppenheimer, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

The etiology of asthma is likely multifactorial. Genetic factors may control individual predispositions to asthma. Genetics may also be associated with responses to medications. Variation in the beta-adrenergic receptor gene of the Arg-Arg type has been associated with impaired responses to inhaled, short-acting beta-agonist inhalers.

Genetics alone, however, cannot account for significant increases in asthma prevalence (see Epidemiology, below), as genetic factors take several generations to develop, and asthma and atopy are not always co-inherited.

One theory to explain the increased prevalence of allergic disease is that, with fewer infectious stimuli in the environment, the in utero TH 2 allergic cytokine state never switches to the TH 1 state.


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