Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the dual specificity phosphatase genes and risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infant

Talavera, M.M., Jin, Y., Zmuda, E.J., Frick, J., Liu, Y., McBride, K.L., Nelin, L.D., Trittmann, J.K.* | JNPM 2020;


BACKGROUND: Differences in the susceptibility of preterm infants to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) implicate potential genetic differences in response to the inflammatory stimuli leading to NEC. Dual specificity phosphatases (DUSPs) are a key suppressor pathway of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pro-inflammatory signaling pathway. We hypothesized that inherited single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DUSP genes contribute to NEC susceptibility in premature infants.

METHODS: Patients admitted between 2010 and 2015 born at <  32 weeks GA and≤1,500 g BW with stage II+NEC (cases; n = 50) and age, weight-matched controls (n = 38) were included. Blood samples were collected for DNA isolation. Agena Mass Array assay was used to examine 31 SNPs in 9 different DUSP genes. Calculated minor allele frequencies (MAF) for cases and controls were compared using χ2 and logistic regression.

RESULTS: The presence of the rs704074 SNP was associated with a 48% decreased risk of developing NEC (OR 0.52; 95% CI 0.27– 1.01, p = 0.04). The odds of surgical NEC decreased by 78% (OR 0.22; 95% CI 0.06– 0.84, p = 0.027) for each copy of rs704074/G allele in patients with NEC.

CONCLUSION: In this small single-center pilot study, DUSP-6 SNP (rs704074) was associated with a lower risk of developing NEC and surgical NEC, the most severe form of NEC, in preterm infants.

*Corresponding Author: 

Jennifer K. Trittmann, Center for Perinatal Research, Abigail Wexner Research Institute, Nationwide Children’s Hospital; 575 Children’s Crossroads, Research Building III, Sixth Floor, Columbus, OH 43215 Phone (614) 355 6623; Fax (614) 355 5896 E-mail: