Objective: To search for single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the interleukin-8 (IL-8) and IL-8 receptor CXCR-1 and CXCR-2 genes, and to compare their distribution among patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) with fibrosing alveolitis (FASSc) or without fibrosing alveolitis (NFASSc), or patients with cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis (CFA), and normal healthy subjects.
Methods: Fifty control subjects were screened for potential polymorphisms by using polymerase chain reaction in association with sequence-specific primers incorporating mismatches at the 3' end. The novel polymorphisms were subsequently examined in British Caucasian subjects, including 194 healthy controls, 71 patients with CFA, and 128 patients with SSc who were further subdivided into 78 FASSc patients and 50 NFASSc patients.
Results: Three novel biallelic polymorphisms were identified in the IL-8 gene (all in noncoding areas of the gene), 1 was found in the CXCR-1 gene (resulting in a conservative amino acid change), and 3 were observed in the CXCR-2 gene, of which the first resulted in a silent codon change and the others were in the 3' untranslated area of exon 3. Compared with controls, a significant increase in the frequency of the CXCR-2 +785 CC homozygote and of the CXCR-2 +1208 TT homozygote was found in the SSc patients (37% versus 22% [P = 0.01] and 33% versus 17% [P = 0.003], respectively). A subgroup analysis revealed this association to be significant both in the FASSc patients and in the NFASSc patients.
Conclusion: This report describes an association between SSc and 2 polymorphisms occurring close to each other in the CXCR-2 gene. This finding and its functional significance need to be confirmed and analyzed in future studies.