Pathways to Disease: The Biological Consequences of Social Adversity on Asthma in Minority Youth

Investigator: Neeta Thakur, MD
Sponsor: U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity

Location(s): United States


Asthma incidence is increasing worldwide and disproportionately affects disadvantaged and minority populations. There is overrepresentation in the Active Duty military of low income and minority populations, including African Americans and Latinos. These populations experience the greatest social adversities and have significant asthma burden. The etiology of asthma-related disparities is multifactorial and known to be affected by poverty and its associated exposures. Chronic exposure to social adversities may trigger a stress response resulting in modulation of immune and hormonal responses and disruption of the body's microbiome. This toxic stress response is likely to be unique in each racial/ethnic group and depend on genetic susceptibility, the environment, and personal upbringing. The current proposal will address the cause, treatment, and prevention of asthma in high-risk populations. Aim 1 will focus on the immune system and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis response to social adversities and the effect on asthma outcomes (n=1000). Aim 2 will focus on the effect of social adversities on the microbiome and if the differences observed are associated with asthma (n=200). The proposal will allow for us to delineate the pathways by which social adversities impart their effects and identify points for intervention to improve asthma related outcomes.