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Br J Dermatol. 2006 Jan;154(1):79-84.

Cytokine gene polymorphisms in bullous pemphigoid in a Chinese population.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Shih-Pai, Taipei 11217, Taiwan, Republic of China.



Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is an autoimmune bullous disease mostly associated with autoantibodies to the hemidesmosomal BP autoantigens BP180 and BP230. High levels of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-13, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interferon (IFN)-gamma have been detected in skin lesions or sera of patients with BP. Cytokine gene polymorphisms may affect cytokine production and contribute to susceptibility to autoimmune diseases. Until now, no cytokine gene polymorphism study has been conducted on patients with BP.


We aimed to determine whether the genetic polymorphisms of the cytokine genes might influence the development of BP.


DNA samples were obtained from 96 BP patients and 174 control subjects. Using direct sequencing and microsatellite genotyping, we examined 23 polymorphisms in 11 cytokine genes including the IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-1 receptor antagonist, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-13, IL-4 receptor, TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma genes.


Although the BP patients were more likely to carry the -511T and -31C alleles of the IL-1beta gene (P = 0.04), the significance disappeared after correction for multiple testing (Pc). There was complete linkage disequilibrium between the -511T and -31C alleles of the IL-1beta gene. In female patients with BP, the associations with IL-1beta (-511T) and (-31C) alleles were much stronger (68% vs. 40.6%, odds ratio = 3.11, Pc = 0.006). No significantly different allelic and genotypic distributions of other cytokine gene polymorphisms could be found between the patients with BP and controls. Moreover, no association with the extent of disease involvement (localized or generalized) was observed.


The IL-1beta (-511) and (-31) polymorphisms were significantly associated with BP in women. The other genetic polymorphisms of cytokine genes that we analysed do not appear to be associated with BP susceptibility in our Chinese population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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