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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Feb;100(2):128-36. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60421-8.

Gene-environment interactions between CD14 C-260T and endotoxin exposure on Foxp3+ and Foxp3- CD4+ lymphocyte numbers and total serum IgE levels in early childhood.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.



Innate immune system stimuli, such as endotoxin, seem to affect allergy risk. Previously, we described gene-environment interactions between the endotoxin receptor polymorphism C-260T of the CD14 gene and endotoxin exposure on total serum IgE level; however, the mechanism of this interaction is not known.


To examine whether this gene-environment interaction affects early CD4(+)Foxp3(-) or CD4(+)Foxp3(+) lymphocyte numbers.


Participating children were part of a birth cohort in the Detroit metropolitan area. Participants were genotyped for the CD14 C-260T polymorphism. Endotoxin exposure was estimated from dust measured in the home when children were 6 months old. Intracellular Foxp3 protein expression, a regulatory T-cell marker, was used to characterize CD4(+) lymphocytes in blood samples collected at the age of 12 months; total serum IgE level was also measured at this time. Because race/ethnicity may confound or modify genetic associations, all analyses were stratified by race/ethnicity.


We observed a significant gene-environment interaction between CD14 C-260T genotype and endotoxin exposure on CD4(+) lymphocyte numbers, particularly CD4(+)Foxp3(-) lymphocytes. Stratified analyses suggest effect modification by race/ ethnicity on CD4(+)Foxp3(+) lymphocyte numbers, with a significant interaction in African American children but not in white children. The interaction between CD14 C-260T genotype and endotoxin exposure on total IgE levels was opposite that observed for CD4(+) lymphocyte numbers, suggesting reciprocal relationships.


A gene-environment interaction between endotoxin and CD14 C-260T genotype on IgE levels may be the result of an upstream, opposing effect on CD4(+)Foxp3(+) and CD4(+)Foxp3(-) lymphocyte numbers. Race/ethnicity may affect which of these cell populations is affected by this gene-environment interaction.

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