Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have successfully identified susceptibility loci associated with COPD. The genes mapped on these loci, eg The FAM13A gene (family with sequence similarity 13, member A), provide a new approach to understand the COPD pathology. Furthermore, heavy smoking is reported to correlate with altered methylation and epigenetic changes of multiple genes in small airway cells. These changes have been shown to be associated with the severity of COPD. It is likely that smoking-induced changes in epigenetic control of gene expression result in genetically vulnerable individual’s results in reduced tissue repair, tissue damage and persistent inflammation associated with COPD pathophysiology.
Part of the book: COPD