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Gender-specific association of the interleukin 18 gene with symptomatic gallstone disease


  • Grant support: This research was supported by grants MMH-E-98007 from Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taiwan.
  • Conflicts of interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
  • Reprints: Yann-Jinn Lee, MD, MS, Departments of Pediatrics and Medical Research, Mackay Memorial Hospital, 45, Min-Sheng Road, Tamshui District, 25160, New Taipei City, Taiwan (e-mail:


Dr Yann-Jinn Lee, Department of Pediatrics, Mackay Memorial Hospital, No. 92, Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd., 10449 Taipei City, Taiwan; Department of Medical Research, Mackay Memorial Hospital, 45, Min-Sheng Road, Tamshui District, 25160 New Taipei City, Taiwan. Email:


Background and Aim

Symptomatic gallstone disease (SGSD) induced several inflammatory responses and affected extrahepatic bile ducts. Although the pathology and environmental risk factors of gallstone disease are well documented, immune or inflammatory responses in SGSD development are still inconclusive. Interleukin 18 (IL18) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays an important role in immune, infectious, and inflammatory diseases because of the induction of interferon-γ. In this study, we investigated whether polymorphisms of the IL18 gene were associated with SGSD susceptibility.


Genomic DNA was isolated from the whole blood samples of 445 patients with SGSD and 1121 gallstone-free controls. The IL18 rs549908T>G, rs5744247C>G, rs187238G>C, rs1946518T>G, and rs360719A>G polymorphisms were genotyped using predeveloped TaqMan allelic discrimination assay.


We found IL18 rs5744247G allele conferred protection against SGSD in female patients (odds ratio = 0.75, corrected P-value = 0.015). Haplotype analysis revealed that TGGTA protected females from SGSD development (odds ratio = 0.75, corrected P-value = 0.02).


Based on our findings, IL18 rs5744247C>G polymorphism could be a potential genetic marker to predict SGSD susceptibility in Han Chinese women.