Aim: To study the genetic association and epistatic interaction of the interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-10/STAT3 pathways in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Methods: A total of 159 pediatric inflammatory IBD patients (Crohn's disease, n = 136; ulcerative colitis, n = 23) and 129 matched controls were studied for genetic association of selected single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the IL-10 gene and the genes IL10RA, IL10RB, STAT3, and HO1, from the IL-10/STAT3 signaling pathway. As interactions between SNPs from different loci may significantly affect the associated risk for disease, additive (a) and dominant (d) modeling of SNP interactions was also performed to examine highorder epistasis between combinations of the individual SNPs. Results: The results showed that IL-10 rs304496 was associated with pediatric IBD (P = 0.022), but no association was found for two other IL-10 SNPs, rs1800872 and rs2034498, or for SNPs in genes IL10RA, IL10RB, STAT3, and HO1. However, analysis of epistatic interaction among these genes showed significant interactions: (1) between two IL-10 SNPs rs1800872 and rs3024496 (additive-additive P = 0.00015, Bonferroni P value (Bp) = 0.003); (2) between IL-10RB rs2834167 and HO1 rs2071746 (dominant-additive, P = 0.0018, Bp = 0.039); and (3) among IL-10 rs1800872, IL10RB rs2834167, and HO1 rs2071746 (additive-dominant-additive, P = 0.00015, Bp = 0.005), as well as weak interactions among IL-10 rs1800872, IL-10 rs3024496, and IL-10RA (additive-additive-additive, P = 0.003; Bp = 0.099), and among IL10RA, IL10RB, and HO1 genes (additive-dominant-additive, P = 0.008, Bp = 0.287). Conclusion: These results indicate that both the IL-10 gene itself, and through epistatic interaction with genes within the IL-10/STAT3 signaling pathway, contribute to the risk of pediatric IBD.
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