Setting: Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Studies in a murine model of pulmonary TB have identified a role for Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the development of chronic lung infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The Asp299Gly polymorphism in the human TLR4 gene is associated with in vivo hyporesponsiveness to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in Caucasians.
Objective: To determine whether TLR4 Asp299Gly influences LPS responses or susceptibility to pulmonary TB in humans in a Gambian population sample.
Design: We compared whole blood monokine responses to LPS in 245 healthy blood donors stratified by TLR4 Asp299Gly genotype to assess whether this polymorphism was functional in this population. A case-control study of 640 subjects was conducted to investigate whether TLR4 Asp299Gly was associated with TB.
Results: LPS-induced tumour necrosis factor, interleukin-1 beta and interleukin-10 production was not influenced by TLR4 Asp299Gly genotype. There was no association between TLR4 Asp299Gly and TB.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that TLR4 Asp299Gly has no influence on monocyte LPS responses or susceptibility to TB in Gambians and could be an ancient neutral polymorphism.