Large-scale candidate gene study of leprosy susceptibility in the Karonga district of northern Malawi.
Fitness J., Floyd S., Warndorff DK., Sichali L., Mwaungulu L., Crampin AC., Fine PEM., Hill AVS.
We present a large case-control candidate gene study of leprosy susceptibility. Thirty-eight polymorphic sites from 13 genes were investigated for their role in susceptibility to leprosy by comparing 270 cases with 452 controls in Karonga district, northern Malawi. Homozygotes for a silent T-->C change in codon 352 of the vitamin D receptor gene appeared to be at high risk (odds ratio [OR] = 4.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.6-11.4, P = 0.004), while homozygotes for the McCoy b blood group defining variant K1590E in exon 29 of the complement receptor 1 (formerly CD35) gene appeared to be protected (OR = 0.3, 95% CI = 0.1-0.8, P = 0.02). Borderline evidence for association with leprosy susceptibility was found for seven polymorphic sites in an additional six genes. Some of these apparent associations may be false-positive results from multiple comparisons, and several associations suggested by studies in other populations were not replicated here. These data provide evidence of inter-population heterogeneity in leprosy susceptibility.