Unique variation in genetic selection among Black North American women and its potential influence on pregnancy outcome
We hypothesize that variations in the frequency of genetic polymorphisms, reflecting ancestral differences in living conditions and exposure to microorganisms, increase susceptibility to adverse pregnancy outcome among present day Black North American women. Striking differences were observed in the frequency of genetic variants between Black and White or Hispanic women in 5 genes (IL1RN, MBL2, PPARA, ATG16L1, CIAS1) associated with inflammation and anti-microbial immunity. The CIAS1 and IL1RN polymorphisms were associated with altered interleukin-1β serum levels; the MBL2 polymorphism resulted in a decreased serum mannose-binding lectin concentration. Gene polymorphisms associated with an alteration in innate immunity were most frequent in Black women. This may reflect an evolutionary selection in response to an ancient environment containing a high multitude of microorganisms, and may increase susceptibility of Black women to infection-associated preterm birth in the current North American environment.