The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between possible functional interleukin-10 (IL-10) polymorphisms, IL-10 expression and regulatory T cells (Tregs) frequency, and/or asthma severity in a sample of children and adolescents.
This is a nested case-control genetic association study. The study sample consisted of children and adolescents aged 8-14 from public schools. Four polymorphisms of the IL-10 gene (rs1518111, rs3024490, rs3024496, rs3024491) were genotyped in asthmatic subjects and controls using real-time PCR. Tregs cells and IL-10 were analyzed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells by flow cytometry. The severity of asthma was defined according to the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guideline.
One hundred twenty-three asthmatic subjects and fifty-eight controls participated in the study. The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs3024491 (T allele) showed association with asthma severity, presenting a higher frequency in patients in the moderate asthma group. The T allele of variant rs3024491 also showed an association with reduced IL-10 levels (p = 0.01) and with increased Tregs frequency (p = 0.01). The other variants did not present consistent associations.
Our results suggest that moderate asthma is associated with a higher frequency of the T allele in the SNP rs3024491. In addition, the variant rs3024491 (TT) was associated with a reduction in IL-10 production and an increased percentage of Tregs cells, suggesting possible mechanisms that influence asthma severity.

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