Association of Polymorphisms in theInterleukin-18Gene in Patients With Crohn's Disease Depending on the CARD15/NOD2 Genotype

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Background:An increased expression of interleukin-18 (IL-18), a proinflammatory cytokine inducing interferon-γ, has been found in Crohn's disease (CD). In the IL-18 gene, several partly functional relevant polymorphisms are known. This study sought to investigate associations of IL-18 polymorphisms in inflammatory bowel disease and CD according to CARD15/NOD2 mutation status and clinical phenotypes. Methods: The IL-18 polymorphisms −607, −137, and the third position of codon 35 (c35/3) were genotyped in 210 patients with CD, 140 patients with ulcerative colitis, and 265 healthy controls using polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Results: Frequencies of alleles and genotypes of the 3 polymorphisms and of the respective haplotypes and diplotypes displayed no significant differences between the whole groups of patients with CD and ulcerative colitis, respectively, compared with the controls. After stratification of patients with CD for CARD15/NOD2 status, significant associations of genotypes −137 CC (P = 0.018) and c35/3 CC (P = 0.010) and of the diplotype 2-2 (P = 0.018) were found in cases carrying CARD15/NOD2 mutations. Associations of genotypes −137 GG (P = 0.015) and c35/3 AA (P = 0.030) with colonic disease only in cases positive for CARD15/NOD2 mutations and of the genotype −607 AA (P = 0.007) with fistulas in cases negative for CARD15/NOD2 mutations were observed. Conclusions: In this study, significant differences of several genotypes and diplotypes within the IL-18 gene in CD depending on CARD15/NOD2 status have been found. In context with an increased expression of IL-18 in CD, it remains to be shown whether the expression of IL-18 is influenced by CARD15/NOD2 mutation status.

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