Bacterial permeability family member A1 (BPIFA1), also known as short palate, lung, and nasal epithelium clone 1 (SPLUNC1), is a protein involved in the antiinflammatory response. The goal of this study was to determine whether BPIFA1 expression in asthmatic airways is regulated by genetic variations, altering epithelial responses to type 2 cytokines (e.g., IL-13). Nasal epithelial cells from patients with mild to severe asthma were collected from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Severe Asthma Research Program centers, genotyped for rs750064, and measured for BPIFA1. To determine the function of rs750064, cells were cultured at air-liquid interface and treated with IL-13 with or without recombinant human BPIFA1 (rhBPIFA1). Noncultured nasal cells with the rs750064 CC genotype had significantly less BPIFA1 mRNA expression than the CT and TT genotypes. Cultured CC versus CT and TT cells without stimulation maintained less BPIFA1 expression. With IL-13 treatment, CC genotype cells secreted more eotaxin-3 than CT and TT genotype cells. Also, rhBPIFA1 reduced IL-13-mediated eotaxin-3. BPIFA1 mRNA levels negatively correlated with serum IgE and fractional exhaled nitric oxide. Baseline FEV1% levels were lower in the asthma patients with the CC genotype (n = 1,016). Our data suggest that less BPIFA1 in asthma patients with the CC allele may predispose them to greater eosinophilic inflammation, which could be attenuated by rhBPIFA1 protein therapy.
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