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Sex- and age-dependent association of SLC11A1 polymorphisms with tuberculosis in Chinese: a case control study

Kim Hung Leung1, Shea Ping Yip1*, Wa Sang Wong2, Lap San Yiu2, Kam Keung Chan3, Wai Man Lai47, Eudora YD Chow4, Che Kit Lin5, Wing Cheong Yam6 and Kin Sang Chan3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, China

2 TB Laboratory, Haven of Hope Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China

3 Department of Pulmonary and Palliative Care, Haven of Hope Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China

4 Department of Pathology, United Christian Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China

5 Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, Hong Kong SAR, China

6 Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

7 Department of Microbiology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2007, 7:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-19

Published: 19 March 2007



Host genetic factors are important determinants in tuberculosis (TB). The SLC11A1 (or NRAMP1) gene has been studied extensively for genetic association with TB, but with inconsistent findings. In addition, no study has yet looked into the effect of sex and age on the relationship between SLC11A1 polymorphisms and TB.


A case-control study was conducted. In total, 278 pulmonary TB patients and 282 sex- and age-matched controls without TB were recruited. All subjects were ethnic Chinese. On the basis of linkage disequilibrium pattern, three genetic markers from SLC11A1 and one from the nearby IL8RB locus were selected and examined for association with TB susceptibility. These markers were genotyped using single strand conformation polymorphism analysis or fragment analysis of amplified products.


Statistically significant differences in allele (P = 0.0165, OR = 1.51) and genotype (P = 0.0163, OR = 1.59) frequencies of the linked markers SLC6a/b (classically called D543N and 3'UTR) of the SLC11A1 locus were found between patients and controls. With stratification by sex, positive associations were identified in the female group for both allele (P = 0.0049, OR = 2.54) and genotype (P = 0.0075, OR = 2.74) frequencies. With stratification by age, positive associations were demonstrated in the young age group (age ≤65 years) for both allele (P = 0.0047, OR = 2.52) and genotype (P = 0.0031, OR = 2.92) frequencies. All positive findings remained significant even after correction for multiple comparisons. No significant differences were noted in either the male group or the older age group. No significant differences were found for the other markers (one SLC11A1 marker and one IL8RB marker) either.


This study confirmed the association between SLC11A1 and TB susceptibility and demonstrated for the first time that the association was restricted to females and the young age group.