Previous studies indicated that elevated tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) levels may play a role in the development of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). The A(-308) and A(-238) variants of the promoter region of the TNF-alpha gene are reportedly associated with altered TNF-alpha production. The aim of our study was to determine the impact of these gene polymorphisms on the development and course of NEC in very-low-birthweight (VLBW) infants. Dried blood samples from 46 VLBW neonates with NEC were analysed using the method of restriction fragment length polymorphism. Samples from 90 VLBW neonates without NEC were used as controls. The prevalence of alleles with guanine-adenine transition in the -308 and -238 positions was the same in NEC and control subjects (12% vs 10% and 3% vs 4%, respectively).
Conclusion: The investigated genetic variants of the TNF-alpha gene promoter region have no influence on the risk and course of NEC in VLBW infants.