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Experimental evidence implicates interferon gamma (IFNgamma) in protection from and resolution of chlamydial infection. Conversely, interleukin 10 (IL10) is associated with susceptibility and persistence of infection and pathology. We studied genetic variation within the IL10 and IFNgamma loci in relation to the risk of developing severe complications of human ocular Chlamydia trachomatis infection. A total of 651 Gambian subjects with scarring trachoma, of whom 307 also had potentially blinding trichiasis and pair-matched controls with normal eyelids, were screened for associations between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), SNP haplotypes and the risk of disease. MassEXTEND (Sequenom) and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry were used for detection and analysis of SNPs and the programs PHASE and SNPHAP used to infer haplotypes from population genetic data. Multivariate conditional logistic regression analysis identified IL10 and IFNgamma SNP haplotypes associated with increased risk of both trachomatous scarring and trichiasis. SNPs in putative IFNgamma and IL10 regulatory regions lay within the disease-associated haplotypes. The IFNgamma +874A allele, previously linked to lower IFNgamma production, lies in the IFNgamma risk haplotype and was more common among cases than controls, but not significantly so. The promoter IL10-1082G allele, previously associated with high IL10 expression, is in both susceptibility and resistance haplotypes.

Original publication




Journal article


Genes and immunity

Publication Date





332 - 340


London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London University, London, UK.


Cicatrix, Humans, Trachoma, Interleukin-10, Haplotypes, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Alleles, Quantitative Trait Loci, Gambia, Interferon-gamma