Open Access Research article

No evidence for association between SLC11A1 and visceral leishmaniasis in India

Sanjana Mehrotra12, Joyce Oommen2, Anshuman Mishra1, Medhavi Sudharshan1, Puja Tiwary1, Sarra E Jamieson2, Michaela Fakiola23, Deepa Selvi Rani4, Kumarasamy Thangaraj4, Madhukar Rai1, Shyam Sundar1 and Jenefer M Blackwell23*

  • * Corresponding author: Jenefer M Blackwell

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, OS 221 005, India

2 Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, Subiaco, Western Australia, Australia

3 Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK

4 Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India

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BMC Medical Genetics 2011, 12:71  doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-71

Published: 20 May 2011



SLC11A1 has pleiotropic effects on macrophage function and remains a strong candidate for infectious disease susceptibility. 5' and/or 3' polymorphisms have been associated with tuberculosis, leprosy, and visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Most studies undertaken to date were under-powered, and none has been replicated within a population. Association with tuberculosis has replicated variably across populations. Here we investigate SLC11A1 and VL in India.


Nine polymorphisms (rs34448891, rs7573065, rs2276631, rs3731865, rs17221959, rs2279015, rs17235409, rs17235416, rs17229009) that tag linkage disequilibrium blocks across SLC11A1 were genotyped in primary family-based (313 cases; 176 families) and replication (941 cases; 992 controls) samples. Family- and population-based analyses were performed to look for association between SLC11A1 variants and VL. Quantitative RT/PCR was used to compare SLC11A1 expression in mRNA from paired splenic aspirates taken before and after treatment from 24 VL patients carrying different genotypes at the functional promoter GTn polymorphism (rs34448891).


No associations were observed between VL and polymorphisms at SLC11A1 that were either robust to correction for multiple testing or replicated across primary and replication samples. No differences in expression of SLC11A1 were observed when comparing pre- and post-treatment samples, or between individuals carrying different genotypes at the GTn repeat.


This is the first well-powered study of SLC11A1 as a candidate for VL, which we conclude does not have a major role in regulating VL susceptibility in India.

SLC11A1; visceral leishmaniasis; genetic susceptibility