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Do Glutathione S-Transferase Genes Modify the Link between Indoor Air Pollution and Asthma, Allergies, and Lung Function? A Systematic Review


Purpose of Review

Glutathione S-transferase (GST) genes are involved in oxidative stress management and may modify the impact of indoor air pollution. We aimed to assess the influence of GST genes on the relationship between indoor air pollution and allergy/lung function.

Recent Findings

Our systematic review identified 22 eligible studies, with 15 supporting a gene-environment interaction. Carriers of GSTM1/T1 null and GSTP1 val genotypes were more susceptible to indoor air pollution exposures, having a higher risk of asthma and lung function deficits. However, findings differed in terms of risk alleles and specific exposures. High-exposure heterogeneity precluded meta-analysis.


We found evidence that respiratory effects of indoor air pollution depend on the individual’s GST profile. This may help explain the inconsistent associations found when gene-environment interactions are not considered. Future studies should aim to improve the accuracy of pollution assessment and investigate this finding in different populations.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



Atopic dermatitis


Confidence interval


Environmental tobacco smoke

FEV1 :

Forced expiratory volume in 1 s


Forced vital capacity


Glutathione s-transferases

VFRCmax :

Maximal flow at functional residual capacity


Newcastle-Ottawa quality assessment scale


Odds ratio


Peak expiratory flow rate


Quinone oxidoreductase-1


Reactive oxygen species


Socio-economic status


Standard error


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We thank Prof. Liyun Feng and Shuai Li who provided support on statistical methods.


Xin Dai, Prof. Shyamali Dharmage, Dr. Caroline Lodge, Dr. Melanie Matheson, and Dr. Adrian Lowe are funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC); Dr. John Burgess and Gayan Bowatte have no personal funding relationships to declare.

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Authors and Affiliations



Xin Dai, Prof. Shyamali Dharmage, and Dr. Caroline Lodge contributed to the study conception and design. Xin Dai, Gayan Bowatte, and Dr. Caroline Lodge contributed to the identification of the studies, data collection, study selection, and data extraction. Xin Dai, Prof Shyamali Dharmage, and Dr. Caroline Lodge led the analysis and interpretation of data, with support from Dr. Adrian Lowe, Dr. Melanie Matheson, Dr. John Burgess, A/Prof Lyle Gurrin, and Gayan Bowatte. Xin Dai wrote the initial draft of the manuscript which was critically revised for important content by all the authors. All authors approved the final version.

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Correspondence to Caroline J. Lodge.

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All authors declare no support from any organization for the submitted work, no financial relationships with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous 3 years, and no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Allergies and the Environment

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Dai, X., Bowatte, G., Lowe, A.J. et al. Do Glutathione S-Transferase Genes Modify the Link between Indoor Air Pollution and Asthma, Allergies, and Lung Function? A Systematic Review. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 18, 20 (2018).

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  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Rhinitis
  • Asthma
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Reviews