Cytokine gene polymorphisms and genetic association with coeliac disease in the Finnish population.

Research paper by N N Woolley, K K Mustalahti, M M Mäki, J J Partanen

Indexed on: 13 Jan '05Published on: 13 Jan '05Published in: Scandinavian Journal of Immunology


Coeliac disease (CD) is an intestinal disorder caused by intolerance to dietary gluten in susceptible individuals. The HLA-DQ genes are major risk factors for CD, but other genes also play an important role in the disease susceptibility. Immune-mediated mechanisms are known to underlie the pathogenesis of CD. We studied single-nucleotide polymorphisms in transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1, interleukin (IL)-10, IL-6, interferon (IFN)-gamma and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha genes in the Finnish population using family-based association approach. In addition, we genotyped a trinucleotide repeat polymorphism in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I chain-related protein A (MICA) gene, located in the human leucocyte antigen (HLA) region in the vicinity of TNF-alpha. To control the effect of linkage disequilibrium between HLA-DQ genes and MICA and TNF-alpha, an HLA-stratified association analysis was performed. We did not find evidence of association between TGF-beta1, IL-10, IL-6 and IFN-gamma polymorphisms and CD susceptibility. No association was found for any of the MICA alleles independently of DQ genes, whereas TNF-alpha-308 A allele was slightly overrepresented on chromosomes carried by CD patients compared with control chromosomes, indicating that either TNF-alpha, or another gene in linkage disequilibrium with it, could confer increased susceptibility to CD. This result supports the earlier findings that the HLA region harbours a novel susceptibility factor in addition to HLA-DQ.