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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 18;8(6):e66262. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066262. Print 2013.

Genome-Wide Association Study of Genetic Variants in LPS-Stimulated IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-1ra and TNF-α Cytokine Response in a Danish Cohort.

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Department of Clinical Immunology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.



Cytokine response plays a vital role in various human lipopolysaccharide (LPS) infectious and inflammatory diseases. This study aimed to find genetic variants that might affect the levels of LPS-induced interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-1ra and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α cytokine production.


We performed an initial genome-wide association study using Affymetrix Human Mapping 500 K GeneChip® to screen 130 healthy individuals of Danish descent. The levels of IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-1ra and TNF-α in 24-hour LPS-stimulated whole blood samples were compared within different genotypes. The 152 most significant SNPs were replicated using Illumina Golden Gate® GeneChip in an independent cohort of 186 Danish individuals. Next, 9 of the most statistical significant SNPs were replicated using PCR-based genotyping in an independent cohort of 400 Danish individuals. All results were analyzed in a combined study among the 716 Danish individuals.


Only one marker of the 500 K Gene Chip in the discovery study showed a significant association with LPS-induced IL-1ra cytokine levels after Bonferroni correction (P<10(-7)). However, this SNP was not associated with the IL-1ra cytokine levels in the replication dataset. No SNPs reached genome-wide significance for the five cytokine levels in the combined analysis of all three stages.


The associations between the genetic variants and the LPS-induced IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-1ra and TNF-α cytokine levels were not significant in the meta-analysis. This present study does not support a strong genetic effect of LPS-stimulated cytokine production; however, the potential for type II errors should be considered.

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