Background: Interleukin-18 (IL-18) plays an important role in the regulation of TH1 as well as TH2 immunologic responses and thus in the development of chronic inflammatory diseases. Positive association studies of polymorphisms in IL-18 with different diseases have underlined the involvement of IL-18 in the pathogenetics processes. Our interest was to test polymorphisms of IL-18 for association with a typical TH1-mediated disease – juvenile idiopathic arthritis – and the TH2-mediated disease bronchial asthma in Caucasian children.
Methods: We genotyped five polymorphisms that were in association with chronic inflammatory diseases (−607C, −137C, 113G, 127T, and −133G). This was performed by restriction fragment length polymorphism in populations of asthmatic children, control individuals, and children with antinuclear antibodies (ANA)-positive juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Statistical analysis was performed by the Armitage trend test; haplotypes were calculated by the Arlequine program.
Results: No significant association was found between any single nucleotide polymorphism or any haplotype and bronchial asthma or ANA-positive juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Conclusion: We conclude that the effect of IL-18 in the immunologic context of diseases like bronchial asthma or juvenile arthritis might be too complex to be reflected in a simple one-way association study. Furthermore, the polymorphisms under investigation might be nonfunctional.