Objective: To investigate the association of microsatellites and single-nucleotide promoter polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene for the cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) with susceptibility to and outcome of reactive arthritis (ReA).
Methods: From genomic DNA, IL-10 microsatellites G and R and IL-10 promoter polymorphisms at positions -1087 and -524 were typed by polymerase chain reaction, automated fragment length analysis, and restriction fragment digestion in 85 Finnish patients with ReA and 62 HLA-B27-positive Finnish controls. ReA patients had been followed up for 20 years. Genotypes and haplotypes of IL-10 were correlated with distinct features of the disease course, such as triggering agent, chronic arthritis, development of ankylosing spondylitis, and other chronic features.
Results: There was a significant decrease in the promoter alleles G12 (allele frequency 0.206 versus 0.033; corrected P < 0.001, odds ratio 0.14) and G10 (0.183 versus 0.092; P < 0.05, odds ratio 0.44) in the ReA group compared with the HLA-B27-positive controls. Chronic arthritis developed significantly more frequently in the B27-positive subjects than in the B27-negative subjects (P < 0.05) as well as in patients with [corrected] the IL10.G8 allele. No associations were observed for either SNP or for the IL10.R microsatellite polymorphism.
Conclusion: IL10.G12 and G10 microsatellite alleles show a strong protective effect against the development of ReA in Finnish subjects. Since these polymorphic markers themselves do not have direct functional implications, they most likely mark promoter haplotypes with distinct functional properties, suggesting that differential production of IL-10 is an important susceptibility factor for the development of ReA.