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PhD ceremony Ms. N.M. Vink: The role of stress in the etiology of asthma

When:Mo 10-06-2013 at 12:45

PhD ceremony: Ms. N.M. Vink, 12.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: The role of stress in the etiology of asthma

Promotor(s): prof. H.M. Boezen, prof. J.G.M. Rosmalen, prof. D.S. Postma

Faculty: Medical Sciences

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable airway obstruction in association with increased airway hyper-responsiveness. Many pathways are potentially involved, including multiple genetical pathways, environmental factors, and gene-environment interactions are known to be associated with the development of asthma. However, these factors cannot fully explain the increased incidence of asthma that occurred during the past decennia. Therefore, hypotheses on determinants other than those addressing genetic predisposition, environmental exposures and gene-environment interactions have been put forward. One of these is psychological stress. Results from this thesis show that perinatal stress exposure and exposure to stressful life events before 4 years of age are significantly associated with asthma development up to age 16 years. In utero exposure to maternal smoking explains a small part of the association between perinatal stress and asthma development. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis does not seem to play a role in the development of asthma. We found no significant association between cortisol and asthma (age 11 years) or asthma development (age 14 or 16 years). In addition, no association was observed between level of cortisol after stress and asthma (age 16 years). Also no association was observed between SNPs in receptors that binds cortisol (NR3C1 or NR3C2) and asthma or asthma development.

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