Genetic susceptibility to infectious disease

Trends Microbiol. 2003 Sep;11(9):445-8. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(03)00207-5.


Our understanding of the variation in individual clinical responses to pathogens has become increasingly relevant, particularly in the face of new emerging epidemics as well as the increasing number of multi-drug-resistant organisms. An effective immune response to infection has contributed to the development of host genetic diversity through selective pressure, with an increasing number of studies characterizing the role that host genetics plays in disease susceptibility. Knowledge of the role host mechanisms play in the pathogenesis of infectious disease can contribute to the design of new therapeutic strategies. Rapid advances in the field of human genomics offer great opportunities for adopting this approach to find new insights into pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / genetics
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / genetics*
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • HLA Antigens / genetics
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Receptors, CCR2
  • Receptors, CCR5 / genetics
  • Receptors, Chemokine / genetics
  • Receptors, Interferon / genetics
  • Thalassemia / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics


  • CCR2 protein, human
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • HLA Antigens
  • Receptors, CCR2
  • Receptors, CCR5
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Receptors, Interferon
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • natural resistance-associated macrophage protein 1
  • interferon gamma receptor
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase