Background and Objective: Biliary atresia (BA) is a destructive inflammatory obliterative cholangiopathy of neonates that affects both intrahepatic and extrahepatic bile ducts. Although the etiology is unknown, immunologically mediated injury of the bile ducts triggered by as yet unidentified infectious agents is likely to play a critical role. Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is a proinflammatory cytokine that plays an important role in immune, infectious, and inflammatory diseases because of its induction of interferon-gamma. In this study, we investigated whether polymorphisms of the IL18 gene were associated with susceptibility to BA.
Patients and Methods: Genomic DNA was extracted from whole-blood samples of 50 Taiwanese children with BA and 1117 ethnically matched healthy controls. The IL18 –1297 T/C, –607 C/A, –137 G/C, and +105 A/C polymorphisms were genotyped using the TaqMan assay.
Results: No statistically significant differences of genotype, allele, carrier, and haplotype frequencies of these IL18 gene variants were found between children with BA and healthy controls.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that the IL18 gene does not play a major role in BA predisposition in Taiwanese children.