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J Neuroimmunol. 2001 Feb 15;113(2):240-8.

Analysis of interleukin-4 receptor alpha chain variants in multiple sclerosis.

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Institute of Clinical Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, Justus-Liebig University, Langhansstrasse 7, D-35392, Giessen, Germany.


A recent candidate gene study employing microsatellite markers suggested a possible linkage of multiple sclerosis (MS) with the interleukin-4 receptor (IL4R) gene. Consequently, we investigated the association of different IL4R variants with MS in 341 German MS patients and 305 healthy controls. Analysis of the first 100 MS patients for six IL4R variants showed an increased frequency of the R551 variant in MS patients versus healthy controls and carriage of the same IL4R variant was weakly associated with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) autoantibody production. However, further analysis of all 341 MS patients did not confirm the finding that this IL4R variant represents a general genetic risk factor for MS but revealed an increased frequency of the R551 variant in MS patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS, n=48) as compared to patients with relapsing remitting MS or secondary progressive MS (RR/SPMS n=284; P=0.005 for genotype differences) and to 305 healthy controls (P=0.001 for genotype differences). This association was statistically independent of the presence of the well-known MS susceptibility allele HLA-DRB1*15. After correction for multiple comparisons only the genotype differences between PPMS patients and healthy controls remained statistically significant. These results indicate, that the IL4R variant R551 may influence the genetic predisposition for PPMS but does not represent a general genetic risk factor for MS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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