Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play important roles in the signaling of many pathogen-related molecules and endogenous proteins associated with immune activation. -196 to -174del polymorphism affects the TLR2 gene and alters its promoter activity. We investigated the influence of TLR2 -196 to -174del polymorphism on the risk of gastro-duodenal diseases, on the severity of Helicobacter pylori-induced gastritis in a Japanesepopulation. The study was performed on 309 patients with abdominal discomfort and 146 healthy controls. -196 to -174del polymorphism of TLR2 was investigated by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction method in all of the subjects. Gastritis scores of antral gastric mucosa were assessed according to the updated Sydney system in H. pylori-positive subjects (n = 156). Patients with abdominal discomfort was consisted of 80 gastric ulcers (25.9%), 38 duodenal ulcers (12.3%), five gastric + duodenal ulcers (1.6%), 105 patients with gastritis (34.0%) and 81 normal healthy stomachs (26.2%). We did not find any association between TLR2 polymorphism and risk of gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, gastric and duodenal ulcer and gastritis compared to healthy controls. However, the TLR2-196 to -174ins allele was associated with severity of intestinal metaplasia in more than 60 years of ages (P = 0.02). The same allele also increased the risks of developing more severe gastric mucosal atrophy and intestinal metaplasia in female subjects (P < 0.05, P = 0.07 respectively). No association was observed between TLR2 polymorphism and severity of neutrophil and mononuclear cell infiltration. Our data suggest that the TLR2-196 to -174ins allele was associated with more severe intestinal metaplasia in patients older than was correlated with severity of gastric mucosal atrophy and intestinal metaplasia in female subjects.
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