JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Interleukin-13 genetic polymorphisms in Singapore Chinese children correlate with long-term outcome of minimal-change disease.

BACKGROUND: Minimal-change nephrotic syndrome (MCNS) has been associated with atopy. As interleukin-13 (IL-13) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of MCNS, we postulated that IL-13 genetic polymorphisms could influence either susceptibility or clinical course of the disease.

METHODS: Seventy-two Singapore Chinese children with MCNS and 78 normal controls were screened for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IL-13 gene by direct sequencing. Allele and genotype frequencies of these SNPs were determined and their relationship with different clinical courses was analysed.

RESULTS: Six SNPs were identified in the 5' promoter, exon 4 and 3' untranslated region (3'UTR). The three SNPs in the 3'UTR--4738 (G/A), 4793 (C/A) and 4926 (C/T)--were in tight linkage disequilibrium (Delta > or = 0.99). There was no difference in allele or genotype frequencies between MCNS children and normal controls. However, there was a significantly lower frequency of allele 4738G in those MCNS children who were still relapsing after 5 years of follow-up (G = 0.52), compared with those in complete remission (G = 0.72; P<0.05) and normal controls (G = 0.69; P<0.05). Haplotype analysis showed a significantly higher frequency of the GCC haplotype in controls and MCNS patients in complete remission (chi2 = 6.35; P<0.02), while the frequency of AAT haplotype was higher in those MCNS children still relapsing after 5 years of follow-up (chi2 = 5.38; P<0.02). Moreover, peripheral blood mononuclear cell IL-13 mRNA expression in patients with haplotype AAT was significantly higher than in those with haplotype GCC.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that genetic polymorphisms in the 3'UTR of the IL-13 gene correlate with long-term outcome of MCNS, rather than disease susceptibility, in Singapore Chinese children.

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