Background: Linkage studies mapped a locus regulating total serum IgE concentrations in a noncognate fashion to chromosome 5q31 and a locus for atopy to chromosome 11q13. In contrast, antigen-driven IgE production seems to be largely controlled by major histocompatibility complex class II genes.
Objective: We therefore analyzed the association between the phenotype of high IgE serum levels and six microsatellite markers on chromosomes 5q31 and 11q13, as well as HLA-DRB1, in a random sample of the adult East German population.
Methods: One hundred twenty-nine persons identified as "cases" (serum IgE level > 200 kU/L) and 266 control subjects (serum IgE level < or = 200 kU/L) were genotyped for five 5q31 microsatellites (D5S436, D5S393, D5S210, IL-4, and IL-9) and an 11q13 microsatellite (FCERIB). Cases and controls were also typed for HLA-DRB1. Allele frequencies were compared between cases and controls by means of a two-sided Fisher's exact test.
Results: None of the markers was significantly associated although a weak association to the markers within the IL-9 gene and the FCER1B gene and to the HLA-DRB1*01 allele was found when specific IgE-positive cases were compared with negative controls.
Conclusions: The weak associations observed after stratification for specific IgE might point to a contribution of genes in these regions to the development of allergy.