Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative autoimmune disease that is suggested to be triggered by genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) are stated to play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of MS. The aim of the current study is to highlight the association between TNFA-308, -238 and IL6-174, -597 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and MS predisposition in a sample of multiple sclerotic Iraqi patients. Sixty eight Iraqi Arab relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients and forty eight healthy individuals were enrolled. TNFA-308, -238 and IL6-174, -597 SNPs were detected via sequence-specific primers polymerase chain reaction (SSP-PCR) technique. The results showed a significant variation for homozygous and heterozygous genotypes with A allele of TNF-238 SNP between patients and controls (75.0% vs. 93.8%, P = 0.02, OR = 0.2, CI 95% = 0.06-0.7; 23.5% vs. 6.3%, P = 0.03, OR = 4.6, CI 95% = 1.3-16.7; 13.2 vs. 3.1%, P = 0.02, OR = 4.7, CI 95% = 1.4-16.4). AA genotype was absent in controls. Neither IL6-174, -597 SNPs nor haplotypes showed a considerable variation between patients and controls, but a strong linkage disequilibrium between these two loci was observed through Haploview software analysis. Conclusively, heterozygous and minor allele (A) of TNF-238 SNP comprised risk factors for MS development whereas none of studied IL6 SNPs influenced the susceptibility to MS in this sample of Iraqi population.
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