Genetics of COPD.
Although chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) risk is strongly influenced by cigarette smoking, genetic factors are also important determinants of COPD. In addition to Mendelian syndromes such as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, many genomic regions that influence COPD susceptibility have been identified in genome-wide association studies. Similarly, multiple genomic regions associated with COPD-related phenotypes, such as quantitative emphysema measures, have been found.
Identifying the functional variants and key genes within these association regions remains a major challenge. However, newly identified COPD susceptibility genes are already providing novel insights into COPD pathogenesis. Network-based approaches that leverage these genetic discoveries have the potential to assist in decoding the complex genetic architecture of COPD.