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Maternal and Child Cytokine Relationship in Early Life Is Not Altered by Cytokine Gene Polymorphisms

13th February, 2017


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The development of immune responses is influenced by the interaction between environmental and genetic factors. Our previous study showed a close association between maternal and young infant's cytokine responses. The question is how this association evolves over time and the contribution of genetic polymorphisms to this association. Five cytokines in mitogen-stimulated whole blood culture were measured from pregnant mothers and their children aged 2, 5, 12, 24 and 48 months. Cytokine gene polymorphisms were determined in both mothers and children. High production of maternal interleukin (IL)-10, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) was significantly associated with higher levels of the corresponding cytokines in their children at 2 months (T2), but the association decreased over time. Maternal single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in IFN-γ gene, rs3181032, was found to be associated with child's IFN-γ levels at T2 only, whereas maternal IL-10 rs4579758 and child's TNF-α rs13215091 were associated with child's corresponding cytokines at later ages but not at T2. In the final models including the gene polymorphisms, maternal cytokines were still the strongest determinant of child cytokines. Maternal cytokine during pregnancy, which could be a proxy for child's environmental factors, showed its highest impact at early age, with no or little influence from genetic factors.

GeneticsImmunologyPediatrics Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms

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Citation: Djuardi Y., Supali T., Wibowo H., Heijmans B.T., Deelen J., Slagboom E.P., Houwing-Duistermaat J.J., Sartono E. and Yazdanbakhsh M. Maternal and child cytokine relationship in early life is not altered by cytokine gene polymorphisms. Genes Immun. (2016);17(7):380-385.