Significant Association of TH01 Allele 9.3 and SIDS


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Cornelius Courts, Ph.D.
Institut für Rechtsmedizin
Universitätsklinikum Bonn
Stiftsplatz 12
D-53111 Bonn, Germany


Abstract:  Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) constitutes a considerable percentage of infant death of unknown etiology. Individual catecholamine response variation is suspected to play a role in SIDS. TH01 is a tetrameric short tandem repeat marker in the tyrosine hydroxylase gene, which regulates gene expression and catecholamine production with allele 9.3 exerting a particularly strong effect on noradrenalin production. We investigated in an age-controlled study the TH01 allele frequencies in 127 cases of SIDS and 406 control cases to assess whether in SIDS cases a distinct TH01 allele distribution could be determined as has been reported by a previous study. We found that genotypes containing one or two 9.3 alleles were significantly more frequent in SIDS patients (58.2%) than in control subjects (48.4%, p = 0.038), whereas all other alleles were more frequent in the control subjects. Our findings support the notion that there exists a significant association between TH01 gene configuration and SIDS.