SummaryBackground Atopic dermatitis (AD) and psoriasis are genetically determined inflammatory skin disorders characterized by abnormal cytokine production. From association studies there is evidence that functionally relevant cytokine gene polymorphisms contribute to the genetic basis of psoriasis. Association studies in AD have mostly been limited to polymorphisms of T-helper 2-type cytokines, which dominate in acute AD lesions. Unexpectedly, the results of recent genome scans indicate linkage of AD to psoriasis susceptibility loci. Therefore, AD may also be influenced by genes that modulate cutaneous inflammation independently from atopic mechanisms.
Objectives To investigate further the role of cytokine gene polymorphisms in AD.
Methods Polymorphisms in the genes encoding tumour necrosis factor-α (TNFA−238 G/A, −308 G/A), interleukin (IL)-1β (IL1B−511 T/C, +3953 T/C), IL-6 (IL6−174 C/G), IL-10 (IL10−1082 A/G) and the IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL1RN intron 2) were investigated in German patients with AD (n = 94) and in healthy nonatopic individuals (n = 214) by polymerase chain reaction-based methods and direct cycle sequencing.
Results No association was found between AD and any of the polymorphisms analysed. This is in contrast to the recently described association between psoriasis and the TNFA−238 and IL1B−511 polymorphisms.
Conclusions Our data indicate that cytokine gene polymorphisms may act as specific markers of inflammatory skin diseases rather than contribute to a general disposition towards cutaneous inflammation.