Background and aims: Helicobacter pylori infection almost invariably causes chronic gastritis, but only a proportion of the infected subjects develop peptic ulcers. The local inflammation associated with H. pylori infection is characterized by an increased production of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1-B, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-alpha. Since such cytokine production is often determined by the genetic polymorphism of regions regulating cytokine gene expression, we investigated the relationship between TNF-alpha and IL-8 polymorphisms and the development of duodenal ulcer disease. We also sought a correlation between the promoter polymorphism of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) receptor CD14 and the formation of peptic ulcer, because CD14 plays a crucial role in the initiation of the cytokine cascade.
Methods: Genomic DNA extracted from the peripheral blood of 69 patients with H. pylori-positive duodenal ulcer disease and 47 H. pylori-positive healthy controls was analyzed for TNF-alpha -308 promoter polymorphism by RFLP, and for IL-8 -251 polymorphism by ARMS. Genetic polymorphism within the promoter of the CD14 gene was identified using the LightCycler instrument via melting point analysis.
Results: No significant correlation could be revealed between the TNF-alpha and CD14 promoter polymorphisms and the clinical outcome of H. pylori infection. The IL-8 A/T heterozygote mutant variant was detected with a significantly higher frequency (65.22%) among the ulcer patients than among the healthy, H. pylori-positive blood donors (36.17%), while the frequency of the normal allelic genotype (TT) was significantly higher in the control group (44.6% vs 15.9%).
Conclusion: Analysis of the genetic predisposition to enhanced cytokine production revealed a significant association only for the IL-8 polymorphism. This observation draws attention to the possible importance of IL-8 polymorphism as a genetic predisposing factor in the pathomechanism of H. pylori-induced duodenal ulcer disease, and to the relative protection from duodenal ulcer disease that is associated with the TT genotype.