Environmental, occupational, and genetic risk factors for α-1 antitrypsin deficiency

Richard R. Sharp, Frederick de Serres, Lee Newman, Robert A. Sandhaus, John W. Walsh, Ernie Hood, G. Jean Harry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


α-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency is an inherited genetic disorder currently diagnosed in approximately 5,000 people in the United States. Although some individuals with AAT deficiency are asymptomatic, the condition often leads to deterioration of lung function in adults and is associated with emphysema, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory diseases. In children, AAT deficiency can result in severe liver disease, including fatal cirrhosis in newborn infants. Although much is known about the clinical pathology of AAT deficiency, researchers are just beginning to characterize environmental, occupational, and genetic modifiers affecting the onset and progression of diseases related to AAT deficiency. On 19 August 2002, a group of basic scientists, clinicians, environmental health researchers, and public interest groups gathered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, to discuss ongoing research on these topics. The goals of this workshop were to a) assess the present state of knowledge regarding environmental and occupational risk factors contributing to AAT deficiency morbidity and mortality, b) define future research needs in this area, and c) explore collaborative opportunities to advance understanding of risk factors affecting the progression of AAT deficiency-related disease. Participants agreed that new research initiatives in these areas represent an opportunity to benefit both basic science, through enhanced understanding of gene-environment interaction, and the AAT deficiency patient community, through innovative new approaches to disease management and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1749-1752
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number14
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Emphysema
  • Environmental risk factors
  • Gene-environment interactions
  • Genetic testing
  • Liver disease
  • Neutrophil elastase
  • Occupational health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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