The rs3761548 FOXP3 variant is associated with multiple sclerosis and transforming growth factor β1 levels in female patients

  • Tamires Flauzino
  • Daniela Frizon Alfieri
  • Wildea Lice de Carvalho Jennings Pereira
  • Sayonara Rangel Oliveira
  • Ana Paula Kallaur
  • Marcell Alysson Batisti Lozovoy
  • Damacio Ramón Kaimen-Maciel
  • Karen Brajão de Oliveira
  • Andrea Name Colado Simão
  • Edna Maria Vissoci ReicheEmail author
Original Research Paper



The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between rs3761548 FOXP3 (-3279 C > A) variant and multiple sclerosis (MS), disability, disability progression, as well as transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and interleukin (IL)-10 plasma levels in MS patients.

Methods and subjects

The study included 170 MS patients and 182 controls. Disability was evaluated using Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and categorized as mild (EDSS ≤ 3) and moderate/high (EDSS > 3). Disability progression was evaluated using Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score (MSSS). The rs3761548 variant was determined with polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR–RFLP). Plasma levels of TGF-β1 and IL-10 were determined using immunofluorimetric assay.


CA and AA genotypes were associated with MS [odds ratio (OR) 2.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.66–3.53, p = 0.012; OR 8.19, 95% CI 3.04–22.07, p < 0.001, respectively). With the dominant model, the CA + AA genotypes were associated with MS (OR 2.57, 95% CI 1.50–4.37, p < 0.001). In the recessive model, the AA genotype was also associated with MS (OR 5.38, 95% CI 2.12–13.64, p < 0.001). After adjustment by age, ethnicity, BMI and smoking, all these results remained significant, as well as female patients carrying the CA + AA genotypes showed higher TGF-β1 than those carrying the CC genotype (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.001–1.054, p = 0.043). No association was observed between the genotypes and disability, disability progression and IL-10 levels.


These results suggest that the A allele of FOXP3 -3279 C > A variant may exert a role in the T regulatory cell function, which could be one of the factors involved in the susceptibility for MS in females.


Multiple sclerosis Disability rs3761548 FOXP3 variant Transforming growth factor β1 T regulatory cell 


Author contributions

Conception and research design: EMVR and ANCS; manuscript writing and discussion of results: EMVR, ANCS, and TF; data collection: DRK-M, WLCJP, TF, DFA, APK, and SRO, who contributed equally; laboratory analysis: TF, DFA, MABL, and KBO; statistical analysis: ANCS and DFA. All the authors have read and approved the final manuscript.


The study was supported by grants from Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Level of Education Personnel (CAPES) of Brazilian Ministry of Education; Institutional Program for Scientific Initiation Scholarship (PIBIC) of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The protocol was approved by the Institutional Research Ethics Committees of University of Londrina, Paraná, Brazil (CAAE: 22290913.9.0000.5231) and all the individuals invited were informed in detail about the research and gave written Informed Consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamires Flauzino
    • 1
  • Daniela Frizon Alfieri
    • 1
  • Wildea Lice de Carvalho Jennings Pereira
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sayonara Rangel Oliveira
    • 3
  • Ana Paula Kallaur
    • 1
  • Marcell Alysson Batisti Lozovoy
    • 1
    • 3
  • Damacio Ramón Kaimen-Maciel
    • 4
  • Karen Brajão de Oliveira
    • 5
  • Andrea Name Colado Simão
    • 1
    • 3
  • Edna Maria Vissoci Reiche
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied Immunology, Health Sciences CenterUniversity of LondrinaLondrinaBrazil
  2. 2.Outpatient Clinic for Neurology, University HospitalState University of LondrinaLondrinaBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, Clinical Analysis and Toxicology, Health Sciences Center, University HospitalState University of LondrinaLondrinaBrazil
  4. 4.Hospital Santa Casa de Misericórdia de LondrinaLondrinaBrazil
  5. 5.Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology, Department of Pathological Sciences, Biological Sciences CenterState University of LondrinaLondrinaBrazil

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