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Cytokine gene polymorphisms and sudden infant death syndrome


L Ferrante, Institute of Forensic Medicine, Rikshospitalet, 0027 Oslo, Norway.
Tel: +47 2284 1454 | Fax: +47 2284 1471 |


Aim:  Several studies indicate that the mucosal immune system is stimulated in cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and our hypothesis is that this immune reaction is because of an unfavourable combination of functional polymorphisms in the cytokine genes.

Methods:  Thus, in this study, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genes encoding IL-6, IL-8, IL-12, IL-13, IL-16, IL-18 and IFNγ were investigated in 148 SIDS cases, 56 borderline SIDS cases, 41 cases of infectious death and 131 controls.

Results:  Regarding genotype distribution, no differences between the investigated groups were found. However, in the SIDS group, the genotypes IL-8 −251AA/AT and IL-8 −781CT/TT were significantly more frequent in the SIDS cases found dead in a prone sleeping position, compared with SIDS cases found dead in other sleeping positions. In addition, there was an association between fever prior to death and the genotype IL-13 +4464GG in the cases of infectious death.

Conclusion:  This study indicates that specific interleukin genotypes are a part of a genetic make up that make infants sleeping prone at risk for SIDS.