Background: Cytokines are cell signaling molecules which upon release by cells facilitate the recruitment of immune-modulatory cells towards the sites of inflammation. Genetic variations in cytokine genes are shown to regulate their production and affect the risk of infectious as well as autoimmune diseases. Intron-3 of interleukin-4 gene (IL-4) harbors 70-bp variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) that may alter the expression level of IL-4 gene.
Objective: To determine the distribution of IL-4 70-bp VNTR polymorphism in seven genetically heterogeneous populations of Chhattisgarh, India and their comparison with the finding of other Indian and world populations.
Methods: A total of 371 healthy unrelated individuals from 5 caste and 2 tribal populations were included in the present study. The IL-4 70-bp VNTR genotyping was carried out using PCR and electrophoresis.
Results: Overall, 3 alleles of IL-4 70-bp VNTR (a2, a3 and a4) were detected. The results demonstrated the variability of the IL-4 70-bp VNTR polymorphism in Chhattisgarh populations. Allele a3 was the most common allele at the 70-bp VNTR locus in all populations followed by a2 allele. This study reports the presence four repeat allele a4 at a low frequency in the majority of the Chhattisgarh populations studied. Further, the frequency of the minor allele (a2) in Chhattisgarh populations showed similarity with the frequencies of European populations but not with the East Asian populations where the a2 allele is a major allele.
Conclusions: Our study provides a baseline for future research into the role of the IL-4 locus in diseases linked to inflammation in Indian populations.