Investigation of environmental and host-related risk factors for tuberculosis in Africa. II. Investigation of host genetic factors.
Bennett S., Lienhardt C., Bah-Sow O., Gustafson P., Manneh K., Del Prete G., Gomes V., Newport M., McAdam K., Hill A.
In an accompanying paper (Am. J. Epidemiol. 2002;155:1066-73), the authors describe the design of a large multicenter study being carried out in three West African countries for investigation of the roles of environmental and host-related factors in the development of tuberculosis. In this paper, the authors review some evidence that host genetic factors play a role in susceptibility to tuberculosis. They describe the three components of the study that are designed to investigate the effect of host genetic factors on the development of tuberculosis: case-control and family-based association studies of candidate genes and analysis of affected relative pairs to screen the human genome for areas of linkage to the disease. The authors also address a number of methodological issues that arise, such as the effects of consanguinity, half-siblings, and nonpaternity. Lastly, they review opportunities to assess gene-environment interaction in the framework of the study, in light of current methodological knowledge. Consideration of these issues may be useful in the design of other studies of genetic susceptibility to infectious diseases, particularly those to be carried out in developing countries.