Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 polymorphism Asp299Gly is not associated with disease course in Dutch sarcoidosis patients

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The aetiology of sarcoidosis, a systemic disorder characterized by the formation of non-caseating granulomas in variable organs, remains enigmatic. Clarification is hampered by heterogeneity in disease phenotypes and course, due partly to the influence of a variety of genetic and environmental factors. Multiple studies have pointed towards bacteria as possible causative agents. Toll-like receptors (TLR) are innate immunity receptors important in the immune response against pathogens. TLR-4, together with CD14 and MD-2, is an essential receptor for the recognition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), unique to the cell wall of Gram-negative bacteria. Recently, an association between TLR-4 polymorphism Asp299Gly, leading to a change in the extracellular domain of the receptor and possible hyporesponsiveness to LPS, and a chronic course of sarcoidosis was found in German patients. In the present study this polymorphism was genotyped in 156 Dutch sarcoidosis patients and 200 healthy Dutch controls using dual-labelled fluorescent oligonucleotides. No differences were found in allelic distributions between patients and controls (P = 0·79) or within the different clinical entities of the sarcoidosis group (P = 0·44). Importantly, there were no differences between the Dutch and German sarcoidosis patients (P = 0·62). However, the allelic distribution of the Asp299Gly polymorphism differed significantly between both control groups (P = 0·04). This study highlights the importance of testing a reported gene association in a distinct population when performing genetic association studies.

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