A polymorphism within the promoter region of the RANTES chemokine gene is associated with an increased risk of asthma and atopy, suggests a paper published in 11 December Genes and Immunity (Genes Immun 2000 1:509-514) by A.H. Hajeer and colleagues from the Universities of Manchester and Keele.

Genetic linkage analysis in families has previously identified an area on chromosome 17q11 that harbours a group of cytokines called C-C chemokines. Of these chemokines, RANTES (regulated upon activation, normally t-expressed, and presumably secreted) is essential for the attraction of memory T cells to the site of inflammation as well as for the release of histamine and prostaglandin D2 from basophils.

The authors identified a polymorphism within the promoter region of the RANTES gene (-403 G-A) on chromosome 17q11. Using a PCR-RFLP assay, they investigated the correlation between the presence of the -403A allele with results of skin prick tests, serum...

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