Role of TLR4 receptor polymorphisms in Boutonneuse fever

Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2005 Oct-Dec;18(4):655-60. doi: 10.1177/039463200501800406.


The genetics of the interaction between host and microbes plays an essential role in the survival of the individual and attainment of longevity. The activation of toll-like receptor (TLR)4 plays a key role in natural and clonotypic immune responses. We evaluated whether TLR4 genotype is a component of genetic background protective versus rickettsiosis and whether this background influences longevity. We genotyped for +896A/G TLR4 polymorphism 78 patients affected with Boutonneuse fever, 78 age-matched controls and 78 advanced age individuals from Sicily. The +869G allele, that attenuates receptor signalling, was significantly overrepresented in patients in comparison with age-matched controls. By analyzing data according to gender, this allele was significantly higher in female patients when compared to advanced age women. Pro-inflammatory responses are programmed to resist fatal infections. So, it is not surprising that the genetic background of people that survive to an advanced age may be protective against infections. However, this seems to occur in women but not in men. In a previous study, the +896G TLR4 allele was overrepresented in advanced age men and underrepresented in men affected by myocardial infarction. Thus, previous and present results tend to agree with the suggestion that men and women may follow different trajectories to reach longevity. For men it might be more important to control atherogenesis, whereas for women it might be more important to control infectious diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Boutonneuse Fever / epidemiology
  • Boutonneuse Fever / genetics*
  • Boutonneuse Fever / metabolism*
  • DNA / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / physiology*
  • Sicily / epidemiology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism*


  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • DNA