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Am J Hum Genet. 2004 Oct;75(4):709-15. Epub 2004 Aug 20.

The IL12B gene is associated with asthma.

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Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Anesthesia, Children's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


The IL12B gene on chromosome 5q31-33 encodes the p40 subunit of interleukin 12, an immunomodulatory cytokine. To test the hypothesis that the IL12B gene contains polymorphisms associated with asthma, we genotyped six haplotype-tagging polymorphisms in the IL12B gene, both in 708 children enrolled in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) and in their parents. Using the family-based association test (FBAT) program and its haplotype (HBAT) and phenotype (PBAT) options, we tested each polymorphism and haplotype for association with asthma and asthma-related phenotypes. We tested positive associations for replication in a case-control study comparing 177 adult moderate-to-severe asthmatics with 177 nonasthmatic controls. In whites in the CAMP cohort, the A allele of the IL12B G4237A polymorphism was undertransmitted to asthmatic children (P=.0008, recessive model), the global test for haplotypes for affection status was positive (P=.009, multiallelic chi (2)), and two polymorphisms were associated with different atopy phenotypes. In addition, we found a strong association between the IL12B_4237 and IL12B_6402 polymorphisms and an asthma-severity phenotype in whites, which we also found in the independent population of white adult asthmatics. IL12B may be an important asthma gene.

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