Association between a high-expressing interferon-gamma allele and a lower frequency of kidney angiomyolipomas in TSC2 patients

Am J Hum Genet. 2002 Oct;71(4):750-8. doi: 10.1086/342718. Epub 2002 Aug 21.


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a familial hamartoma syndrome in which renal involvement is common and, at times, life threatening. We have investigated the potential effect of a non-TSC gene on renal disease in a cohort of 172 TSC patients with TSC2 mutations. Patients were genotyped for an interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) microsatellite polymorphism, within intron 1, for which one common allele (allele 2, with 12 CA repeats) has been shown to have a higher expression of IFN-gamma. A chi(2) analysis was used to examine the association between IFN-gamma allele 2 and the development of kidney angiomyolipomas (KAMLs) in this TSC2 cohort. Because of the age-dependent development of KAMLs in TSC, we initially focused on the 127 patients who were >5 years old. Additional subgroup analyses were done to investigate the influence of age and gender. The transmission/disequilibrium test (TDT) was also performed in a subset of this cohort (46 probands) for whom parent and/or sibling samples were available for analysis. Both chi(2) analysis and TDT suggested an association between IFN-gamma allele 2 and the absence of KAMLs in patients who have known TSC2 mutations. Among the 127 patients who were >5 years old, KAMLs were present in 95 (75%) and were absent in 32 (25%). In the group with KAML present, the frequency of IFN-gamma allele 2 was 56%; in the group with KAML absent, the frequency of IFN-gamma allele 2 was significantly higher, at 78% (P=.02, by chi(2) analysis). The family-based TDT analysis gave similar results, with a TDT statistic (TDT chi2=5.45) corresponding to a P value of.02. Subgroup analyses show that both age and gender may influence the impact of this association. Although these results should be replicated in other populations with TSC, the present study suggests that modifier genes play a role in the variable expression of TSC and also suggests a potential therapy for KAMLs in patients with TSC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alleles
  • Angiomyolipoma / etiology
  • Angiomyolipoma / genetics*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics*
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / complications
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / genetics*


  • Interferon-gamma

Associated data

  • OMIM/191092
  • OMIM/605284