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Genes Immun. 2011 Jan;12(1):40-5. doi: 10.1038/gene.2010.46. Epub 2010 Sep 23.

Validation of IRF5 as multiple sclerosis risk gene: putative role in interferon beta therapy and human herpes virus-6 infection.

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  • 1Neurogenomiks, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Leioa, Spain.


In recent reports, IRF5 polymorphisms showed significant association with multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility in three studied populations and Irf5-deficient mice exhibited an increased susceptibility to viral infection, linked to a significant decrease in the induction of serum type I interferon (IFN). In the present study, we evaluated the association of two IRF5 polymorphisms with MS predisposition and we also addressed whether these polymorphisms were associated with active replication of human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6) observed in a subgroup of MS patients, and/or with response to IFN-β therapy. A total of 1494 MS patients and 1506 ethnically matched controls were genotyped for rs4728142 and rs3807306 with TaqMan pre-designed assays. One hundred and six patients were classified as responders to IFN-β therapy (no relapses/increases in EDSS over the 2-year follow-up) and 112 as non-responders (at least two relapses or an increase in expanded disability status scale (EDSS) of at least one point during the same period). The combined analysis of available datasets yielded an effect size on MS with odds ratio (OR)(Mantel-Haenszel)=1.14 (P<0.002) for the IRF5 polymorphisms rs4728142 and rs3807306. Additionally, trends for association were observed between rs3807306T and infection with HHV-6 [p=0.05, OR (95% CI)=1.56 (1.00-2.44)] and response to IFN-β therapy [P=0.09, OR (95% CI)=1.39 (0.95-2.05)].

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