RATIONALE: Allergic diseases are influenced by both genes and environment. A 70-kb haplotype block in the G protein-coupled receptor for asthma susceptibility gene (GPR154; alias GPRA) on chromosome 7p was recently identified to influence susceptibility to asthma and elevated total serum IgE levels in adults. OBJECTIVES: To assess the impact of GPR154 on childhood allergic disease, including allergic sensitization, asthma, and rhinoconjunctivitis, in study populations with diverse environmental backgrounds. METHODS: We studied farm children, Steiner school children, and two reference groups from five Western European countries in the cross-sectional PARSIFAL (Prevention of Allergy Risk factors for Sensitization In children related to Farming and Anthroposophic Lifestyle) study and a sample of children from the Swedish birth cohort study BAMSE. DNA samples from 3,113 PARSIFAL and 800 BAMSE children were genotyped for 7 GPR154 polymorphisms and haplotypes were inferred. The proportions of alleles and haplotypes (H1-H7) were compared in affected children with their healthy counterparts. RESULTS: Data indicate a global association of the haplotype block to sensitization (allergen-specific serum IgE > or = 0.35 kU/L, p = 0.022), with significant haplotype-specific associations for H1, H5, and H6. Haplotypes H1 and H5 were also significantly associated with childhood allergic asthma (p = 0.045 and p = 0.023, respectively), and H5 to asthma regardless of sensitization. A broader involvement of GPR154 in allergic diseases was further supported in allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (H3: p = 0.046). The associated haplotypes could be allocated into risk (H5/H6) and nonrisk (H1/H3) groups, a pattern supported by allelic association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs324384 and rs324396. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that polymorphisms and haplotypes in the haplotype block of GPR154 are associated with asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and sensitization in European children.


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