Interferon-alpha receptor-1 (IFNAR1) variants are associated with protection against cerebral malaria in the Gambia.
Aucan C., Walley AJ., Hennig BJ., Fitness J., Frodsham A., Zhang L., Kwiatkowski D., Hill AV.
The chromosome 21q22.11 cytokine receptor cluster contains four genes that encode subunits of the receptors for the cytokines interleukin-10 and interferon-alpha, -beta and -gamma that may have a role in malaria pathogenesis. A total of 15 polymorphic markers located within these genes were initially genotyped in 190 controls and 190 severe malaria cases from The Gambia. Two interferon-alpha receptor-1 (IFNAR1) gene SNPs (17470 and L168 V) showed evidence for an association with severe malaria phenotypes and were typed in a larger series of samples comprising 538 severe malaria cases, 338 mild malaria cases and 562 controls. Both the 17470-G/G and L168V-G/G genotypes were associated with protection against severe malaria, in general, and cerebral malaria, in particular (P=0.004 and 0.003, respectively). IFNAR1 diplotypes were then constructed for these two markers using the PHASE software package. The (17470-G L168V-G/17470-G L168V-G) diplotype was found to be associated with a reduced risk of cerebral malaria and the (17470-C L168V-C/17470-G L168V-G) diplotype with an increased risk of cerebral malaria (overall 3 x 2 chi(2)=12.8, d.f.=2, P=0.002 and 3 x 2 chi(2)=15.2, d.f.=2, P=0.0005, respectively). These data suggest a role for the type I interferon pathway in resistance to cerebral malaria.