PURPOSE: Although the mechanism of virus-induced, aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is not known fully, direct activation of viral components through Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) has been suggested. TLR3 recognizes double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), and activates nuclear factor-κB and increases interferon-γ, which signals other cells to induce airway inflammation in asthma. Considering the association of TLR3 in viral infections and AERD, we investigated whether promoter and non-synonymous variants of TLR3 were associated with AERD.
METHODS: The three study groups, 203 with AERD, 254 with aspirin-tolerant asthma (ATA), and 274 normal healthy controls (NC) were recruited from Ajou University Hospital, Korea. Two polymorphisms, -299698G>T and 293391G>A [Leu412Phe], were genotyped using primer extension methods.
RESULTS: Genetic associations were examined between two genetic polymorphisms of TLR3 (-299698G>T and 293391G>A [Leu412Phe]) in the three study groups. AERD patients that carried the GG genotype of 293391G>A showed a significantly lower frequency compared with ATA in both co-dominant (P=0.025) and dominant models (P=0.036). Similarly, in the minor allele frequency, the A allele was significantly higher (P=0.023) in AERD compared with ATA for this polymorphism. AERD patients who carried HT2 [GA] showed a significantly higher frequency than other haplotypes in co-dominant (P=0.02) and recessive (P=0.026) models.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the -299698G>T and 293391G>A [Leu412Phe] polymorphisms of the TLR3 gene are associated with the AERD phenotype.
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