Risk of Necrotizing Enterocolitis Associated With the Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms VEGF C-2578A, IL-18 C-607A, and IL-4 Receptor alpha-Chain A-1902G: A Validation Study in a Prospective Multicenter Cohort

Rob M. Moonen, Maurice J. Huizing, Gema E. Gonzalez-Luis, Giacomo Cavallaro, Fabio Mosca, Eduardo Villamor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The etiology of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is multifactorial and an underlying genetic predisposition to NEC is increasingly being recognized. A growing number of studies identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of selected genes with potential biological relevance in the development of NEC. However, few of these genetic studies have been replicated in validation cohorts. We aimed to confirm in a cohort of 358 preterm newborns (gestational age = Bell stage II) the association with NEC of three candidate SNPs: the vascular endothelium growth factor (VEGF) C-2578A polymorphism (rs699947), the interleukin (IL)-18 C-607A polymorphism (rs1946518), and the IL-4 receptor alpha-chain (IL-4R alpha) A-1902G polymorphism (rs1801275). We observed that allele and genotype frequencies of the three SNPs did not significantly differ between the infants with and without NEC. In contrast, the minor G-allele of the IL-4R alpha A-1902G polymorphism was significantly less frequent in the group of 51 infants with the combined outcome NEC or death before 34 weeks postmenstrual age than in the infants without the outcome (0.206 vs. 0.331, P = 0.01). In addition, a significant negative association of the G-allele with the combined outcome NEC or death was found using the dominant (adjusted odds ratio, aOR: 0.44, 95% CI 0.21-0.92), recessive (aOR 0.15, 95% CI 0.03-0.74), and additive (aOR 0.46, 95% CI 0.26-0.80) genetic models. In conclusion our study provides further evidence that a genetic variant of the IL-4R alpha gene may contribute to NEC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2020


  • VEGF
  • IL-18
  • IL-4 receptor alpha-chain
  • polymorphisms
  • necrotizing enterocolitis
  • preterm

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