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Immunogenetics. 2001 May-Jun;53(4):264-9.

A novel polymorphism in the 5' promoter region of the human interleukin-4 receptor alpha-chain gene is associated with decreased soluble interleukin-4 receptor protein levels.

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Institute of Clinical Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany.


Interleukin (IL)-4 exerts its biological effects through binding to the IL-4 receptor (IL4R) complex, plays a central role in stimulating B-cell differentiation, and is crucial for the development of T helper 2 cells. Recently, a soluble form of the human IL4R alpha chain (sIL4R alpha), which is produced by alternate mRNA splicing of exon 8, was discovered. sIL4R is thought to play an important role in either enhancing or inhibiting IL-4 signalling. We analyzed the 5' promoter region of the human IL4R alpha-chain gene (IL4RA) of healthy volunteers by DNA sequencing and found three novel single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; T-890C, T-1914C, C-3223T) and one novel short tandem repeat [(CAAAA)(5-7)-3600]. The two common promoter region SNPs T-1914C and C-3223T as well as six known coding SNPs in the IL4RA gene were genotyped in healthy blood donors by PCR with sequence-specific primers; total sIL4R levels were measured by ELISA. Results revealed a highly significant association of the -3223T variant with lowered sIL4R levels (two-tailed t-test, P=0.0002). Results remained highly significant after Bonferroni adjustment for multiple comparisons (P=0.0017). Moreover, the C-3223T variant was found to be in strong linkage disequilibrium with the extracellular 150V variant (P<0.001), which was recently described to be associated with atopic asthma in a Japanese population. Since this novel IL4RA promoter region SNP is common (allele frequency 29.8%), we conclude that it may be of importance for the genetic regulation of the IL-4 signalling pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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