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The Differential Effect of Genetic Variation on Soluble CD14 Levels in Human Plasma and Milk


Address reprint requests to Marilyn Halonen, Arizona Respiratory Center, University of Arizona, 1501 N. Campbell Ave, PO Box 245030, Tucson, AZ 85724-5030, USA.


Problem:  The protein CD14 is a pattern recognition receptor for bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Whether genetic variation has the same influence on soluble CD14 (sCD14) levels in human plasma and milk remains to be determined.

Method of study:  We measured sCD14 levels in plasma during pregnancy (n = 196) and in milk in the postpartum (n = 152) for women genotyped for the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at positions −1619, −550, and −159 from the transcription start site of the CD14 gene.

Results:  Plasma- and milk-sCD14 levels differed significantly both by CD14/−1619 and CD14/−550 genotypes and by haplotypes. Most interestingly, sCD14 levels were regulated differentially by the same genetic variants in plasma and milk, with the CD14/−550T allele and the corresponding are ATC haplotype associated with high sCD14 in milk but low sCD14 in plasma. A correlation between sCD14 levels in plasma and milk was absent (r = 0.091, P = NS).

Conclusions:  Our findings suggest the existence of cell-specific regulation mechanisms of CD14 gene expression.