OBJECTIVE: To determine whether genetic variants in and around SPINK5 are associated with IgE-mediated food allergy.
METHOD: We genotyped 71 "tag" single nucleotide polymorphisms (tag-SNPs) within a region spanning ~263 kb including SPINK5 (~61 kb) in n=722 (n=367 food-allergic, n=199 food-sensitized-tolerant and n=156 non-food-allergic controls) 12-month-old infants (discovery sample) phenotyped for food allergy with the gold standard oral food challenge. Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) measures were collected at 12 months from a subset (n=150) of these individuals. SNPs were tested for association with food allergy using the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test adjusting for ancestry strata. Association analyses were replicated in an independent sample group derived from four paediatric cohorts, total n=533 (n=203 food-allergic, n=330 non-food-allergic), mean age 2.5 years, with food allergy defined by either clinical history of reactivity, 95% positive predictive value (PPV) or challenge, corrected for ancestry by principal components.
RESULTS: SPINK5 variant rs9325071 (A⟶G) was associated with challenge-proven food allergy in the discovery sample (P=.001, OR=2.95, CI=1.49-5.83). This association was further supported by replication (P=.007, OR=1.58, CI=1.13-2.20) and by meta-analysis (P=.0004, OR=1.65). Variant rs9325071 is associated with decreased SPINK5 gene expression in the skin in publicly available genotype-tissue expression data, and we generated preliminary evidence for association of this SNP with elevated TEWL also.
CONCLUSIONS: We report, for the first time, association between SPINK5 variant rs9325071 and challenge-proven IgE-mediated food allergy.