Study objectives: Pulmonary fibrosis develops in approximately 25% of patients with chronic sarcoidosis. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 plays a central role in fibrosis, and accruing reports address the implication of TGF-β2 and TGF-β3 in this process. We determined whether single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TGF-β1, TGF-β2, and TGF-β3 genes might contribute to pulmonary fibrosis in sarcoidosis patients.
Setting: A hospital in the Netherlands.
Design: Five SNPs per TGF-β gene were investigated.
Patients and control subjects: Patients with either acute/self-remitting sarcoidosis (n = 50) and Löfgren syndrome (n = 46) or chronic disease with fibrosis (n = 24) and without fibrosis (n = 34) were assessed over a 4-year follow-up period. The control subjects included 315 individuals.
Measurements and results: Polymorphism frequencies were not discordant between the patients and control subjects. The TGF-β3 4875 A allele was significantly higher in fibrotic patients (carrier frequency, 0.29) than in patients with acute/self-remitting (0.06) and chronic (0.03) sarcoidosis combined (corrected p = 0.01; odds ratio [OR], 7.9). The TGF-β3 17369 C allele carrier frequency was significantly higher in fibrotic patients (0.29) compared to acute/self-remitting (0.08) and chronic (0.06) patients combined (corrected p = 0.05; OR, 5.1). Although not significant after correction, the TGF-β3 15101 G allele carrier frequency was lower in fibrotic patients (0.79) compared to acute/self-remitting (0.94) and chronic (1.00) patients combined (p = 0.02; corrected p = 0.1; OR, 0.15). The TGF-β2 59941 G allele was more abundant in fibrotic patients (carrier frequency, 0.62) compared to patients with acute/self-remitting (0.41) and chronic sarcoidosis combined (0.28) [p = 0.04; corrected p = 0.2; OR, 2.9]. TGF-β1 gene polymorphisms were not associated with fibrosis.
Conclusions: This study is the first to suggest the implication of genetic variation of TGF-β3 in the predilection for pulmonary fibrosis developing in sarcoidosis patients.