Molecular Pneumology

Head of Department:
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. Susetta Finotto


Examination of genetic, age-, gender- and environmental-dependent factors which modify the immune response and influence the development of asthma during school years.

Chronic inflammatory diseases associated with allergy – including asthma, allergic rhinitis and respiratory chronic Rhino sinusitis – constitute a major and continuously growing public health concern in Europe. In some countries one out of three children suffers from an allergic disease. But what causes an inflammatory reaction to become chronic and triggers an allergic or autoreactive response is still unknown. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) warns that, with increasing trend, in the next decade half of the European population may suffer. Despite considerable efforts and numerous well designed studies, it has proven difficult to predict the persistence or not of clinical symptoms, with acceptable sensitivity and specificity and other risk factors except atopy and to identify the current severity level of the disease. This is assuming that the natural course of the disease is developing continuously, depending on the contact with allergens. This horizontal study will investigate the several immunological parameters in a cohort of school children with asthma. For comparison children of matched age and gender without asthma and without relevant diseases will be analyzed. Additionally, we would like to determine the reaction and plasticity of mononuclear cells in the periphery blood (PBMC) in respect with different inflammatory stimuli. From these obtained cells we would like to isolate DNA in order to examine with the help of methylation assays their epigenetic pattern. On the isolated RNA we want to perform gene expression analyses. The hypothesis of this cohort study is that genetic, gender and environmental factors may reprogram the immune responses towards a chronic inflammation pattern. This cohort study at the University of Erlangen comprises a collaborative effort among the Molecular Pneumology department (Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Susetta Finotto), the Children Hospital (Dr. Volker Melichar), and the Department of Human Genetic (Dr. Cornelia Kraus). In this study we wish to recruit 40 asthmatic children or more and 20 control children or more aged 6-10 years old.

[Translate to en:] Study AGENDAS