Tuberculosis (TB) is a global public health problem and a source of preventable deaths each year, with 8.8 million new cases of TB and 1.6 million deaths worldwide in 2005. Approximately, 10% of infected individuals develop pulmonary or extrapulmonary TB, suggesting that host defense factors influence development of active disease. Toll-like receptor' (TLR) polymorphisms have been associated with regulation of TLR expression and development of active TB. In the present study, 71 polymorphisms in TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR6, and TLR9 were examined from 474 (295 cases and 179 controls) African-Americans, 381 (237 cases and 144 controls) Caucasians, and from 667 (321 cases and 346 controls) Africans from Guinea-Bissau for association with pulmonary TB using generalized estimating equations and logistic regression. Statistically significant associations were observed across populations at TLR9 and TLR2. The strongest evidence for association came at an insertion (I)/ deletion (D) polymorphism (-196 to -174) in TLR2 thatassociated with TB in both Caucasians (II vs. ID&DD, OR = 0.41 [95% CI 0.24-0.68], p = 0.0007) and Africans (II vs. ID&DD, OR = 0.70 [95% CI 0.51-0.95], p = 0.023). Our findings in three independent population samples indicate that variations in TLR2 and TLR9 might play important roles in determining susceptibility to TB.
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