Background: NPAS2 is a product of the circadian clock gene. It acts as a putative tumor suppressor by playing an important role in DNA damage responses, cell cycle control and apoptosis. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) appears to be an apoptosis related disorder and alteration in the NPAS2 gene might thereforebe directly involved in the etiology of CLL. Here, the Ala394Thr polymorphism (rs2305160:G>A) in the NPAS2 gene was genotyped and melatonin concentrations were measured in a total of seventy-four individuals, including thirty-seven CLL cases and an equal number of age- and sex-matched healthy controls in order to examine the effect of NPAS2 polymorphism and melatonin concentrations on CLL risk in a Pakistani population. Materials and
Methods: Genotyping of rs2305160:G>A polymorphism at NPAS2 locus was carried out by amplificationrefractory mutation system-polymerase chain reaction (ARMS-PCR). Melatonin concentrations were determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Statistical analysis was performed using Statistical Packagefor Social Sciences software.
Results: Our results demonstrated no association of the variant Thr genotypes (Ala/ Thr and Thr/Thr) with risk of CLL. Similarly, no association of rs2305160 with CLL was observed in either females or males after stratification of study population on a gender basis. Moreover, when the subjects with CLL were further stratified into shift-workers and non-shift-workers, no association of rs2305160 with CLL was seen in either case. However, significantly low serum melatonin levels were observed in CLL patients as compared to healthy subjects (p<0.05). Also, lower melatonin levels were seen in shift-workers as compared to non-shift-workers (p<0.05). There was no significant difference (p>0.05) in the melatonin levels across NPAS2 genotypes in all subjects, subjects with CLL who were either shift workers or non-shift-workers. General Linear Model (GLM) univariate analysis revealed no significant association (p>0.05) of the rs2305160 polymorphism of the NPAS2 gene with melatonin levels in any of the groups.
Conclusions: While low melatonin levels and shift-work can be considered as one of the risk factors for CLL, the NPAS2 rs2305160 polymorphism does not appear to have any association with risk of CLL in our Pakistani population.