Background: It has been postulated that genetic predisposition may influence the susceptibility to SARS-coronavirus infection and disease outcomes. A recent study has suggested that the deletion allele (D allele) of the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) gene is associated with hypoxemia in SARS patients. Moreover, the ACE D allele has been shown to be more prevalent in patients suffering from adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in a previous study. Thus, we have investigated the association between ACE insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism and the progression to ARDS or requirement of intensive care in SARS patients.
Method: One hundred and forty genetically unrelated Chinese SARS patients and 326 healthy volunteers were recruited. The ACE I/D genotypes were determined by polymerase chain reaction and agarose gel electrophoresis.
Results: There is no significant difference in the genotypic distributions and the allelic frequencies of the ACE I/D polymorphism between the SARS patients and the healthy control subjects. Moreover, there is also no evidence that ACE I/D polymorphism is associated with the progression to ARDS or the requirement of intensive care in the SARS patients. In multivariate logistic analysis, age is the only factor associated with the development of ARDS while age and male sex are independent factors associated with the requirement of intensive care.
Conclusion: The ACE I/D polymorphism is not directly related to increased susceptibility to SARS-coronavirus infection and is not associated with poor outcomes after SARS-coronavirus infection.