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Hematology - Immunology - Oncology - Physiology

A Genetic Variant in the IL-17 Promoter Is Functionally Associated with Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease after Unrelated Bone Marrow Transplantation
Published: Thursday, October 20, 2011
Author: J. Luis Espinoza et al.

by J. Luis Espinoza, Akiyoshi Takami, Katsuya Nakata, Makoto Onizuka, Takakazu Kawase, Hideki Akiyama, Koichi Miyamura, Yasuo Morishima, Takahiro Fukuda, Yoshihisa Kodera, Shinji Nakao, for the Japan Marrow Donor Program

Interleukin IL-17 is a proinflammatory cytokine that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of various autoimmune diseases. The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs2275913, in the promoter region of the IL-17 gene is associated with susceptibility to ulcerative colitis. When we examined the impact of rs2275913 in a cohort consisting of 438 pairs of patients and their unrelated donors transplanted through the Japan Marrow Donor Program, the donor IL-17 197A allele was found to be associated with a higher risk of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD; hazard ratio [HR], 1.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00 to 2.13; P?=?0.05). Next, we investigated the functional relevance of the rs2275913 SNP. In vitro stimulated T cells from healthy individuals possessing the 197A allele produced significantly more IL-17 than those without the 197A allele. In a gene reporter assay, the 197A allele construct induced higher luciferase activity than the 197G allele, and the difference was higher in the presence of T cell receptor activation and was abrogated by cyclosporine treatment. Moreover, the 197A allele displayed a higher affinity for the nuclear factor activated T cells (NFAT), a critical transcription factor involved in IL-17 regulation. These findings substantiate the functional relevance of the rs2275913 polymorphism and indicate that the higher IL-17 secretion by individuals with the 197A allele likely accounts for their increased risk for acute GVHD and certain autoimmune diseases.