Background. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronically relapsing skin disease associated with the activation of T-helper 2 cells. Recent studies have shown that polymorphisms in the genes for interleukin (IL)-4, the IL-4 receptor, IL-13, and signal transducer and activator 6 (STAT6) may contribute to susceptibility of AD. To date, no cytokine gene polymorphism study has been conducted on Chinese patients with AD. Aims. To determine whether genetic polymorphisms of the cytokine genes might influence the development of AD. Methods. DNA samples were obtained from 94 patients and 186 control subjects. Using direct sequencing and microsatellite genotyping, we examined 22 polymorphisms in eight cytokine genes including the genes for IL-4, -10, -12B and -13, the IL-4 receptor, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, STAT6, and interferon (IFN)-γ. Results. No significantly different allelic and genotypic distributions of the cytokine gene polymorphisms could be found between patients and controls. Moreover, no association was observed with disease onset, gender, the presence of elevated serum total IgE level or blood eosinophilia. Conclusion. Our study suggests that the analysed genetic polymorphisms of cytokine genes do not appear to be associated with AD susceptibility in our Chinese population.
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