Author(s): Vandenbroeck K, Martino G, Marrosu M, Consiglio A, Zaffaroni M,
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Abstract An epistatic gene interaction has been advocated to explain disease susceptibility in multiple sclerosis (MS). Cytokine genes are possible candidates due to the central role played by cytokines in the regulation of the immune-mediated pathogenetic process leading to central nervous system demyelination in these patients. Since interleukin (IL)-4 gene polymorphisms have been associated with immune-mediated diseases, we have analysed the relationship between a variable number of tandem repeat polymorphism of the IL-4 gene and clinical and physiological features of 256 sporadic MS patients and 146 healthy controls. Genotype frequencies were similar between the MS group and healthy controls. However, in MS patients a positive and significant correlation (r = 0.91; p < 0.001) was found between the carriage rate of the IL-4 B1 allele (from 0.21 to 0.36) and age of disease onset. No association was found between IL-4 alleles and disease progression, sex or ethnic background of the patients. Our results show that the IL-4 B1 allele is associated with late onset of MS and therefore might represent a modifier of age of onset rather than a susceptibility factor for patients with MS.
This article was published in J Neuroimmunol
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion