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Interleukin-18 gene promoter polymorphisms and celiac disease in Italian patients

Zupin, Luisa, Catamo, Eulalia, Polesello, Vania, Crovella, Sergio, Segat, Ludovica
Molecular biology reports 2015 v.42 no.2 pp. 525-533
alleles, antigens, celiac disease, haplotypes, humans, interleukin-18, mucosa, patients, risk, risk factors, small intestine, transcription (genetics)
Celiac disease (CD) is the most common food-sensitive enteropathy in genetically susceptible individuals. The major genetic risk factors known are specific human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQ haplotypes, but other genetic factors are supposed to be involved. Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that has an important role in the immune defense and it has the potential to influence inflammatory disorders. IL-18 is able to promote Th1 cell development and it is expressed in the mucosa of the small intestine in celiac patients. Given the IL-18 biological role, and since a few studies have previously suggested its involvement in CD, in order to investigate the role of IL18 gene in the susceptibility to CD we have performed a case–control study, analyzing two IL18 gene promoter polymorphisms, previously reported to impair the transcriptional activity of the gene, (−137G > C and −607C > A, rs187238 and rs1946518 respectively). A total of 556 CD Italian patients and 582 controls, further stratified for HLA class II (DQ) CD risk haplotypes were enrolled. The −607A > C A allele and A/A genotype, as well as the combination of this allele with the −137G allele in the AG haplotype, were associated with an increased risk towards CD development, in particular in HLA-DQ2.2 patients. Although the association was very moderate, our results indicate the possible involvement of IL18 gene in the susceptibility to CD, and for this reason we do think it should deserve further investigation.