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Lancet. 1997 Jan 18;349(9046):170-3.

Genetic influence on cytokine production and fatal meningococcal disease.

Author information

  • 1Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University Hospital Leiden, Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • Lancet 1997 Mar 1;349(9052):656. Vandenbrouke JP [corrected to Vandenbroucke JP].

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To assess the genetic influence on cytokine production and its contribution to fatal outcome, we determined the capacity to produce tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF alpha) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) in families of patients who had had meningococcal disease.

METHODS:

We studied 190 first-degree relatives of 61 patients with meningococcal disease; we also studied 26 monozygotic twins. Production of cytokines was determined during endotoxin stimulation of whole-blood samples ex-vivo. Heritability was estimated in a pedigree-based maximum-likelihood model. DNA was typed for the G to A transition polymorphisms at position -308 and -238 in the TNF gene promoter.

FINDINGS:

Heritability in monozygotic twins was 0.60 for the production of TNF and 0.75 for the production of IL-10. Families with low TNF production had a tenfold increased risk for fatal outcome (OR 8.9, 95% CI 1.8-45), whereas high IL-10 production increased the risk 20-fold (19.5, 2.3-165). Families with both characteristics had the greatest risk. The transition polymorphisms in the TNF gene promoter were not associated with outcome.

INTERPRETATION:

Genetic factors substantially influence production of cytokines. An innate anti-inflammatory cytokine profile may contribute to fatal meningococcal disease.

PMID:
9111542
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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