Asthma incidence and prevalence are higher in obese individuals. A potential mechanistic basis for this relationship is pleiotropy. We hypothesized that significant linkage and candidate-gene association would be found for body mass index (BMI) in a population ascertained on asthma affection status. Linkage analysis for BMI was performed on 657 subjects in eight Costa Rican families enrolled in a study of asthma. Family-based association studies were conducted for BMI with SNPs within a positional candidate gene, PRKCA. SNPs within PRKCA were also tested for association with asthma. Association studies were conducted in 415 Costa Rican parent-child trios and 493 trios participating in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP). Although only modest evidence of linkage for BMI was obtained for the whole cohort, significant linkage was noted for BMI in females on chromosome 17q (peak LOD = 3.39). Four SNPs in a candidate gene in this region (PRKCA) had unadjusted association p values < 0.05 for BMI in both cohorts, with the joint p value for two SNPs remaining significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons (rs228883 and rs1005651, joint p values = 9.5 x 10(-)(5) and 5.6 x 10(-)(5)). Similarly, eight SNPs had unadjusted association p values < 0.05 for asthma in both populations, with one SNP remaining significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons (rs11079657, joint p value = 2.6 x 10(-)(5)). PRKCA is a pleiotropic locus that is associated with both BMI and asthma and that has been identified via linkage analysis of BMI in a population ascertained on asthma.
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