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J Immunol. 2005 Aug 15;175(4):2061-5.

Cutting edge: polymorphisms in the ICOS promoter region are associated with allergic sensitization and Th2 cytokine production.

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Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


The establishment of ICOS as an important regulator of Th2 development and effector function makes the ICOS locus an attractive candidate for Th2-mediated diseases, such as asthma and allergy. In evaluation of this candidate locus in humans, we identified 11 variants and determined that two in the putative promoter region are significantly associated with allergic sensitization and serum IgE levels. In addition, cultures of activated PBMCs from individuals homozygous for the associated polymorphisms produced increased levels of the Th2 cytokines, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13, as well as TNF-alpha compared with controls. One of the polymorphisms, -1413G/A, demonstrated differential NF-kappaB binding in mobility shift analysis, suggesting that this polymorphism has functional consequences. Overall, these data demonstrate that ICOS is a susceptibility gene for allergic sensitization, perhaps through the promotion of Th2 differentiation.

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