Febrile seizures (FSs) are the commonest form of convulsions. A genetic predisposition to FSs is known, based on family studies, twin studies, and complex segregation analysis. Simple FSs may be more homogenous in their clinical manifestations, and show better agreement with the multifactorial inheritance theory than the complex type. Interleukin-1 (IL-1) β is one of the pro-inflammatory cytokines that are postulated to be involved in the development of FSs. To determine whether or not function-related polymorphisms of the IL-1β (IL1B) gene are associated with susceptibility to simple FSs, the genotypes for two biallelic polymorphisms in the promoter region at positions -31 and -511 of the IL1B gene were determined by means of PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism in 229 FS patients (108 sporadic and 60 familial simple FS, and 61 complex FS patients) and 158 controls. IL1B -31C/T, a TATA box polymorphism, has been found to be in complete linkage disequilibrium with the IL1B -511C/T polymorphism. Sporadic simple FS patients exhibited significantly higher frequencies of IL1B -31C/-511T alleles and homozygotes than controls (uncorrected p = 0.0094 and 0.0029, corrected p = 0.038 and 0.035, respectively), while no differences were observed in patients with all or familial simple FSs versus controls. There were no significant differences in the frequencies of -31C/T and -511C/T in the IL-1β promoter gene between complex FS patients and controls. The present study suggests that the IL-1β gene contributes to a genetic susceptibility to the development of simple FSs of sporadic occurrence.
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