CHI3L1 polymorphisms, cord blood YKL-40 levels and later asthma development.

Usemann, Jakob; Frey, Urs; Mack, Ines; Schmidt, Anne; Gorlanova, Olga; Röösli, Martin; Hartl, Dominik; Latzin, Philipp (2016). CHI3L1 polymorphisms, cord blood YKL-40 levels and later asthma development. BMC pulmonary medicine, 16(1), p. 81. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12890-016-0239-8

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Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1), the gene encoding YKL-40, and increased serum YKL-40 levels are associated with severe forms of asthma. It has never been addressed whether SNPs in CHI3L1 and cord blood YKL-40 levels could already serve as potential biomarkers for milder forms of asthma. We assessed in an unselected population whether SNPs in CHI3L1 and cord blood YKL-40 levels at birth are associated with respiratory symptoms, lung function changes, asthma, and atopy.


In a prospective birth cohort of healthy term-born neonates (n = 260), we studied CHI3L1 polymorphisms, and measured cord blood YKL-40 levels by ELISA in (n = 170) infants. Lung function was performed at 5 weeks and 6 years. Respiratory health during the first year of life was assessed weekly by telephone interviews. Diagnosis of asthma and allergic sensitisation was assessed at 6 years (n = 142).


The SNP rs10399805 was significantly associated with asthma at 6 years. The odds ratio for asthma was 4.5 (95 % CI 1.59-12.94) per T-allele. This finding was unchanged when adjusting for cord blood YKL-40 levels. There was no significant association for cord blood YKL-40 levels and asthma. SNPs in CHI3L1 and cord blood YKL-40 were not associated with lung function measurements at 5 weeks and 6 years, respiratory symptoms in the first year, and allergic sensitisation at 6 years.


Genetic variation in CHI3L1 might be related to the development of milder forms of asthma. Larger studies are warranted to establish the role of YKL-40 in that pathway.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Mack, Ines; Röösli, Martin and Latzin, Philipp


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




BioMed Central




André Schaller

Date Deposited:

20 Feb 2017 10:33

Last Modified:

26 Feb 2017 02:12

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Asthma; CHI3L1 protein; Children; Cohort study; Cord blood; Genetic association study; Genetic variation; Infants; YKL-40 protein




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