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Genes Immun. 2008 Apr;9(3):195-206. doi: 10.1038/gene.2008.2. Epub 2008 Feb 14.

A STAT6 gene polymorphism is associated with high infection levels in urinary schistosomiasis.

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  • 1INSERM, U399, Marseille, France.


Th2-mediated immunity is critical for human defence against schistosome, and susceptibility to infection is controlled by a major genetic locus, mapped on the 5q31-q33 region comprising the genes IL4, IL5 and IL13. We have reported an association between the rs1800925 polymorphism in the IL13 promoter and infection levels in a Dogon population (693 subjects in Ségué and 148 in Boul), where Schistosoma haematobium is endemic. In the same population, we investigated whether other polymorphisms in genes involved in type 2 cytokine immune response could affect susceptibility to schistosome infection. By logistic regression analysis, we found an association between a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the STAT6 gene (rs324013) and infection levels (P=0.04). We confirmed this association in analyses restricted to subjects under 20 years age and living in Boul, the village with the highest levels of infection (P=0.005). We detected an additive effect of the rs324013 and rs1800925 polymorphisms (P=0.011). These SNPs were not strongly correlated with any other tested markers surrounding the two genes. Furthermore, electrophoretic mobility shift assay has shown that both polymorphisms affect transcription factor binding. These results are consistent with the Th2 cytokine pathway enhancing resistance to schistosome infection in humans.

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