Genetic variants of the MRC1 gene and the IFNG gene are associated with leprosy in Han Chinese from Southwest China
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Leprosy is an ancient infectious disease, with over 200,000 affected people (mainly in Asia and Africa) being registered annually. Genetic factors may confer susceptibility to this disease. In the present study, we genotyped 12 genetic variants of the MRC1 gene and the IFNG gene in 527 Han Chinese with leprosy and 583 healthy individuals from Yunnan, China, to discern potential association of these two genes with leprosy. In particular, we aimed to validate the recently reported association of MRC1 variant rs1926736 (p.G396S) and IFNG variant rs2430561 (+874 T>A) with leprosy, which were initially observed in Vietnamese and Brazilian populations, respectively. Our results failed to confirm the reported association between variants rs1926736 and rs2430561 and leprosy in Han Chinese. However, we found that variants rs692527 (P = 0.022) and rs34856358 (P = 0.022) of the MRC1 gene were associated with paucibacillary leprosy, and rs3138557 of the IFNG gene was significantly associated with multibacillary leprosy. The exact role of the MRC1 gene and the IFNG gene in leprosy awaits future study.