Background. Susceptibility/resistance to Plasmodium falciparum malaria has been correlated with polymorphisms in more than 30 human genes with most association analyses having been carried out on patients from Africa and south-east Asia. The aim of this study was to examine the possible contribution of genetic variants in the TNF and FCGR2A genes in determining severity/resistance to P. falciparum malaria in Indian subjects. Methods. Allelic frequency distribution in populations across India was first determined by typing genetic variants of the TNF enhancer and the FCGR2A G/A SNP in 1871 individuals from 55 populations. Genotyping was carried out by DNA sequencing, single base extension (SNaPshot), and DNA mass array (Sequenom). Plasma TNF was determined by ELISA. Comparison of datasets was carried out by Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests. Haplotypes and LD plots were generated by PHASE and Haploview, respectively. Odds ratio (OR) for risk assessment was calculated using EpiInfo™ version 3.4. Results. A novel single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at position -76 was identified in the TNF enhancer along with other reported variants. Five TNF enhancer SNPs and the FCGR2A R131H (G/A) SNP were analyzed for association with severity of P. falciparum malaria in a malaria-endemic and a non-endemic region of India in a case-control study with ethnically-matched controls enrolled from both regions. TNF -1031C and -863A alleles as well as homozygotes for the TNF enhancer haplotype CACGG (-1031T>C, -863C>A, -857C>T, -308G>A, -238G>A) correlated with enhanced plasma TNF levels in both patients and controls. Significantly higher TNF levels were observed in patients with severe malaria. Minor alleles of -1031 and -863 SNPs were associated with increased susceptibility to severe malaria. The high-affinity IgG2 binding FcγRIIa AA (131H) genotype was significantly associated with protection from disease manifestation, with stronger association observed in the malaria non-endemic region. These results represent the first genetic analysis of the two immune regulatory molecules in the context of P. falciparum severity/resistance in the Indian population. Conclusion. Association of specific TNF and FCGR2A SNPs with cytokine levels and disease severity/resistance was indicated in patients from areas with differential disease endemicity. The data emphasizes the need for addressing the contribution of human genetic factors in malaria in the context of disease epidemiology and population genetic substructure within India.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to all donors and their families. We thank Dr. Debasis Das for help with gradient maps, Dr. Prashant, Dr. Prerna, Dr. G.N. Jha and Subir Biswas for help with sample collection and the UP State Department for Malaria and Vector Borne Diseases for support. This work was supported by grants to SH from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) (CMM0016) and to SH and VV from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (BT/PR6065/MED/14/738/2005). This is CDRI communication number 7319.