Familial Mediterranean fever gene and protection against asthma

Einat Rabinovitch, Dror Harats, Pnina Yaron, Tamar Luvish, Merav Lidar, Ron Kedem, Aviv Shaish, Issahar Ben-Dov, Avi Livneh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Asthma is an inflammatory airway disease caused by interaction between susceptibility genes and diverse environmental factors. In Israel, asthma seems to be familial and more severe in patients of Iraqi Jewish descent. On the other hand, asthma is less frequent in individuals with familial Mediterranean fever, an autoinflammatory disease prevalent in the Iraqi Jewish community and linked to mutations in the familial Mediterranean fever gene, designated MEFV. Objectives: To explore a possible role for mutated MEFV in the reduced susceptibility to asthma and to determine its expression in Israeli subjects of Iraqi origins. Methods: Using a case-control approach, we studied the presence of the 3 most common MEFV mutations (M694V, V726A, and E148Q) in DNA samples from 75 patients with asthma and 45 asymptomatic first-degree relatives, all of Iraqi Jewish origin. The severity of asthma was evaluated using a published severity score. Results: Eleven patients with asthma and 14 of their relatives carried 1 or 2 mutations in the MEFV gene, a carrier rate significantly lower in patients with asthma than in their first-degree relatives and in ethnically matched healthy individuals (P < .03 and P < .003, respectively). Carriers of MEFV mutations had less severe disease, compared with noncarriers (P < .002). Conclusion: These findings suggest that MEFV mutations may have a protective effect in the pathogenesis of asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-521
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007


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