There is marked variation in how people respond to corticosteroid therapy for asthma. In an attempt to identify biomarkers of treatment response, US researchers used genome-wide expression profiling of nasal epithelial cells from 57 children aged 3–18 years with an acute exacerbation of asthma.
The researchers found that the vanin-1 (VNN1) gene was significantly expressed in children with a good response to corticosteroids but not in poor responders. Subsequent studies in a mouse model demonstrated that VNN1 is required for an optimal response to corticosteroids and that a binding site within the VNN1 promoter was differentially methylated between good versus poor treatment response groups.
“Changes in VNN1 nasal epithelial mRNA expression and VNN1 promoter methylation might be clinically useful biomarkers of treatment response in asthmatic children,” the researchers conclude in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
(online, 21 April 2015).
 Xiao C, Biagini Myers JM, Ji H et al. Vanin-1 expression and methylation discriminate pediatric asthma corticosteroid treatment response. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2015. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2015.01.045.