Brief Genetics Report Interleukin-18 Promoter Polymorphisms in Type 1 Diabetes


Type 1 diabetes is believed to be a Th1 lymphocyte– mediated disease, and both environmental and genetic factors play a role in its pathogenesis. It was recently found that interleukin (IL)-18 acts as a proinflammatory cytokine and, in synergy with IL-12, promotes development of Th1 lymphocyte response by induction of -interferon production. The aim of our study was to evaluate the frequency of known polymorphisms in the IL-18 promoter in patients with type 1 diabetes in comparison with healthy control subjects, since higher levels of IL-18 were recently reported in the subclinical stage of type 1 diabetes. We studied two recently described single-nucleotide polymorphisms of the promoter of IL-18 gene at the position 137 and 607, which have been suggested to cause differences in transcription factor binding and have an impact on IL-18 gene activity. The genotype distribution differed significantly between patients with type 1 diabetes and control subjects. The difference reflected an increase in the GC genotypes and a decrease in GG genotypes at position 137 in the promoter of IL-18 gene. AA genotype at position 607 was found only in the control group. The results also demonstrated that the contribution of 137GC genotypes to genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes differs depending on the combination of IL-18 promotor gene haplotypes. Our study suggests the first evidence of an association between type 1 diabetes and polymorphisms in the promoter of IL-18 gene. Diabetes 51:3347–3349, 2002


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