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More MS news articles for March 2004

Identification and functional characterization of a highly polymorphic region in the human TRAIL promoter in multiple sclerosis

J Neuroimmunol. 2004 Apr;149(1-2):195-201
Weber A, Wandinger KP, Mueller W, Aktas O, Wengert O, Grundstrom E, Ehrlich S, Windemuth C, Kuhlmann T, Wienker T, Bruck W, Zipp F.
Institute of Neuroimmunology, Charite University Hospital, 10098 Berlin, Germany.

TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is not only involved in cell death but also in other immunoregulatory mechanisms.

So far, the regulation of the TRAIL pathway in physiologic and pathologic conditions remains unclear.

Due to the implication in brain damage and the elevated expression in peripheral immune cells of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, TRAIL might play a central role in the pathology of this disease.

Here, we have identified a highly polymorphic region in the TRAIL promoter.

Using single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, we found four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within 111 base pairs.

One of these SNPs is located in a binding site for the transcription factor AP-1.

However, the RNA and protein expression of TRAIL revealed no obvious differences in relation to the genotypes.

Furthermore, investigating samples from both MS patients and healthy controls we could not detect any association of these newly described polymorphisms to the clinical disease pattern.

Thus, the TRAIL promoter contains a highly polymorphic area which has, however, no impact on molecule expression, and is neither directly related to increased risk of developing MS nor associated with a certain course of this heterogeneous disease in our population.