Thorax 69:558-564 doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204574
  • Respiratory epidemiology
  • Original article

Interaction between gas cooking and GSTM1 null genotype in bronchial responsiveness: results from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey

Open Access
  1. Deborah L Jarvis1,2
  1. 1Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, UK
  2. 2MRC-PHE Centre for Environment & Health, London, UK
  3. 3Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Molecular and Population Genetics Laboratory, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  5. 5Unit of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
  6. 6University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  7. 7Pédiatrie, CHU de Grenoble, Institut Albert Bonniot, INSERM, Grenoble, France
  8. 8Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France
  9. 9Tartu University Hospital, Lung Clinic, Tartu, Estonia
  10. 10UCL Genetics Institute, University College London, London, UK
  11. 11Department of Medical Science, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  12. 12Unit of Epidemiology & Medical Statistics, Dept. of Public Health & Community Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
  13. 13Unit of Occupational Medicine, University Hospital of Verona, Verona, Italy
  14. 14Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland
  15. 15University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  16. 16Department of Medical Sciences, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  17. 17Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain
  18. 18CIBER Epidemiologia y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
  19. 19Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology I, Neuherberg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr André F S Amaral, Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Emmanuel Kaye Building, 1B Manresa Road, London SW3 6LR (UK); a.amaral{at}
  • Received 25 September 2013
  • Revised 11 February 2014
  • Accepted 13 February 2014
  • Published Online First 10 March 2014


Background Increased bronchial responsiveness is characteristic of asthma. Gas cooking, which is a major indoor source of the highly oxidant nitrogen dioxide, has been associated with respiratory symptoms and reduced lung function. However, little is known about the effect of gas cooking on bronchial responsiveness and on how this relationship may be modified by variants in the genes GSTM1, GSTT1 and GSTP1, which influence antioxidant defences.

Methods The study was performed in subjects with forced expiratory volume in one second at least 70% of predicted who took part in the multicentre European Community Respiratory Health Survey, had bronchial responsiveness assessed by methacholine challenge and had been genotyped for GSTM1, GSTT1 and GSTP1-rs1695. Information on the use of gas for cooking was obtained from interviewer-led questionnaires. Effect modification by genotype on the association between the use of gas for cooking and bronchial responsiveness was assessed within each participating country, and estimates combined using meta-analysis.

Results Overall, gas cooking, as compared with cooking with electricity, was not associated with bronchial responsiveness (β=−0.08, 95% CI −0.40 to 0.25, p=0.648). However, GSTM1 significantly modified this effect (β for interaction=−0.75, 95% CI −1.16 to −0.33, p=4×10−4), with GSTM1 null subjects showing more responsiveness if they cooked with gas. No effect modification by GSTT1 or GSTP1-rs1695 genotypes was observed.

Conclusions Increased bronchial responsiveness was associated with gas cooking among subjects with the GSTM1 null genotype. This may reflect the oxidant effects on the bronchi of exposure to nitrogen dioxide.

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