Open Access Research article

Case-control study of IL13 polymorphisms, smoking, and rhinoconjunctivitis in Japanese women: the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study

Yoshihiro Miyake1*, Keiko Tanaka1 and Masashi Arakawa2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan

2 Field Science for Health and Recreation, Faculty of Tourism Sciences and Industrial Management, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan

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BMC Medical Genetics 2011, 12:143  doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-143

Published: 25 October 2011



Six previous studies have examined the relationships between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IL13 gene and allergic rhinitis, but the results have been inconsistent. However, a recent meta-analysis using data from these 6 studies has shown that the A allele of IL13 SNP rs20541 was associated with an increased risk of allergic rhinitis, whereas no such relationship existed between IL13 SNP rs1800925 and allergic rhinitis. We investigated the associations between IL13 SNPs rs1800925 and rs20541 and the risk of rhinoconjunctivitis in Japanese women.


Included were 393 cases who met the criteria of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) for rhinoconjunctivitis. Control subjects were 767 women without rhinoconjunctivitis according to the ISAAC criteria, who had also not been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis by a doctor. Adjustment was made for age, region of residence, presence of older siblings, smoking, family history of allergic rhinitis, and education.


Compared with the GG genotype of IL13 SNP rs20541, the AA genotype, occurring in 7.1% of control subjects, was significantly positively related to the risk of rhinoconjunctivitis: the adjusted odds ratio was 1.65 (95% confidence interval: 1.05 - 2.60). SNP rs1800925 was not associated with rhinoconjunctivitis. The haplotype comprising the rs1800925 C allele and the rs20541 A allele was significantly positively related to rhinoconjunctivitis. The multiplicative interactions between the two SNPs under study and smoking on the risk of rhinoconjunctivitis were not statistically significant. Based on the recessive model, however, the additive interaction between SNP rs1800925, but not rs20541, and smoking was significant.


This study suggests that the minor genotype of IL13 SNP rs20541 and the CA haplotype are significantly positively associated with the risk of rhinoconjunctivitis. In addition, a new pattern of biological interaction that affects the risk of rhinoconjunctivitis is described between SNP rs1800925 and smoking.