Polymorphisms in the IL-4, IL-4 receptor alpha chain, TNF-alpha, and lymphotoxin-alpha genes and risk of asthma in Hong Kong Chinese adults

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2007;144(2):114-22. doi: 10.1159/000103222. Epub 2007 May 24.


Background: Susceptibility to the development of asthma and other atopic diseases is known to be associated with genetic components. However, association studies with interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-4 receptor alpha subunit (IL-4R alpha), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and lymphotoxin-alpha (LT-alpha) genes were inconclusive, as both positive and negative results were obtained in several populations studied. We aimed to investigate the association of the polymorphisms for IL-4 (C-589T), IL-4R alpha (Gln576Arg), TNF-alpha (G-308A) and LT-alpha (A252G) genes as candidates and asthma in adult Hong Kong Chinese population.

Methods: The association study was conducted in an age- and smoking status-matched case-control design in asthma patients (n = 292) and healthy controls (n = 292) using polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism.

Results: No significant differences were found in allele and genotype frequencies of all four genes between patients and controls. After stratification by atopic status, the heterozygous AG genotype of LT-alpha (A252G) was found to increase risk of asthma in atopic population [odds ratio (OR) = 2.00, 95% CI 1.09-3.67, p = 0.024]. When stratified by smoking status, we found increased risk of asthma with subjects carrying the heterozygous AG and homozygous GG genotypes of LT-alpha in ever-smokers (OR = 2.73, 95% CI 1.11-6.69, p = 0.028 for heterozygotes; OR = 3.34, 95% CI 1.16-9.62, p = 0.026 for homozygotes).

Conclusion: Our results suggest that the variability of LT-alpha genotypes may have potential implications for individual susceptibility to asthma in atopic or in ever-smoking Chinese adults in Hong Kong.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Asthma / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Hong Kong / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-4 Receptor alpha Subunit / genetics
  • Lymphotoxin-alpha / genetics*
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics


  • Interleukin-4 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Lymphotoxin-alpha
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-4