Author(s): Moraes MO, Cardoso CC, Vanderborght PR, Pacheco AG
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Abstract In this review, we discuss recently accumulated data, analysing genetic influence on leprosy outcome. Most leprosy-related epidemiological studies are based on the comparison of frequencies of genetic markers in case-control designs using candidate genes, mainly on immunological pathways. Genomic scans using family-based designs also identified some chromosome regions to be tested for association with leprosy. The results have suggested that different genes are implicated in resistance/susceptibility to leprosy, such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha), interleukin (IL)-10, vitamin D receptor (VDR), and parkin, although some of the results obtained in different populations are controversial. In spite of the recent advances in genomics and genetic epidemiology we have experienced, the results must be confirmed using better designed epidemiological studies to directly pinpoint the genes responsible for leprosy outcome. Furthermore, there is a clear requirement of functional/biological data in order to validate epidemiological findings. In this way, these genetic markers could be used to screen high-risk populations introducing gene testing as diagnostic and prognostic tools to interrupt the chain of transmission and prevent neurological damage.
This article was published in Lepr Rev
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals