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Interleukin-1 (IL1) is a potent endogenous pyrogen and inducer of the acute phase response, and these innate immune responses are an important part of the human host's initial reaction to infection by the malaria parasite. In addition, several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in this region have previously been demonstrated to be associated with susceptibility to infectious disease. Therefore, a possible association with malaria susceptibility was investigated. A total of 13 polymorphic markers were used in a two-stage screening strategy to genotype a Gambian case-control study group by either restriction endonuclease digestion or the Sequenom MassARRAY assay. This involved an initial screen of 188 severe cases and 188 mild controls, and if there was a significant association with a malaria phenotype (P<0.05); this was followed by screening of the remaining 1044 samples. Two markers showed significant association with malaria: interleukin-1 alpha +4845 G --> T (P=0.035 for mild malaria versus controls) and interleukin-1 beta +3953 C --> T (P=0.030 for mild malaria versus severe malaria). Haplotypes constructed using the SNPHAP programme were not associated with any of the malaria phenotypes investigated. In summary, if IL1 variants are involved in malaria susceptibility in the Gambia at all, then the effects are small.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Hum Genet

Publication Date





132 - 138


Case-Control Studies, Gambia, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Interleukin-1, Malaria, Multigene Family, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide