Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating gastrointestinal emergency. The purpose of this study is to determine if functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in immune-modulating genes pre-dispose infants to NEC. After Institutional Review Board approval and parental consent, buccal swabs were collected for DNA extraction. TaqMan allelic discrimination assays and BglII endonuclease digestion were used to genotype specific inflammatory cytokines and TRIM21. Statistical analysis was completed using logistic regression. 184 neonates were analyzed in the study. Caucasian neonates with IL-6 (rs1800795) were over 6 times more likely to have NEC (p = 0.013; OR = 6.61, 95% CI 1.48-29.39), and over 7 times more likely to have Stage III disease (p = 0.011; OR = 7.13, (95% CI 1.56-32.52). Neonates with TGFβ-1 (rs2241712) had a decreased incidence of NEC-related perforation (p = 0.044; OR = 0.28, 95% CI: 0.08-0.97) and an increased incidence of mortality (p = 0.049; OR = 2.99, 95% CI: 1.01-8.86). TRIM21 (rs660) was associated with NEC-related intestinal perforation (p = 0.038; OR = 4.65, 95% CI 1.09-19.78). In premature Caucasian neonates, the functional SNP IL-6 (rs1800795) is associated with both the development and increased severity of NEC. TRIM21 (rs660) and TGFβ-1 (rs2241712) were associated with NEC-related perforation in all neonates in the cohort. These findings suggest a possible genetic role in the development of NEC.
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