Impact of Interleukin-13 and -18 Promoter Polymorphisms in Health Care Workers with Natural Rubber Latex Allergy
It is a matter of debate whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the promoter region of interleukin (IL)-13, an IgE regulator, and IL-18, an inducer of immune responses, modulating the respective protein expression, are accompanied by an increased risk of atopy, allergic asthma, and total IgE levels. The suspected associations were noted in health care workers (HCW) with and without latex allergy. IL-13 (-1055C>T) and three IL-18 (-656T>G, -607C>A, -137G>C) SNP were studied in 523 HCW with natural rubber latex (NRL) exposure and diagnosis in the late 1990s. Three hundred and thirty-four HCW displayed NRL sensitization and allergic symptoms, 93 with latex-allergic asthma, and 189 HCW with neither symptoms nor NRL sensitization. SNP analyses were performed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using newly developed LightCycler assays. Analysis of IL-13 -1055C>T by analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed significantly elevated total IgE levels in HCW carrying the CT or TT variant compared with the CC variant. None of the studied SNP showed an association with NRL-specific IgE. The IL-18 variants -656GG and -607CC displayed 99.5% linkage disequilibrium. Frequencies of alleles -656GG and -607CC were elevated in HCW with NRL asthma (48.4%) compared with HCW without symptoms (37.6%). In contrast, IL-18 -137G>C variants displayed an overall homogenous distribution. The association between the IL-13 -1055T allele and elevated total IgE levels confirms the role of a genetic background for total IgE regulation. The studied IL-18 SNP demonstrated no significant association with the clinical outcome, total IgE, or specific IgE in HCW with natural rubber latex allergy.
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