ImmVar project: Insights and design considerations for future studies of "healthy" immune variation

The Immune Variation (ImmVar) project is one of a series of recent efforts to map the extent of variation in immune function in healthy human subjects. The focus of our initial studies involved a careful mapping of the genetic architecture of the adaptive and innate immunologic transcriptomes. Our studies highlight the shared nature of this immunogenetic architecture across human populations, the important role of context in uncovering effects of genetic variation, and the fact that, over all tested genes, common genetic variation account for a minority of the variance in the immune transcriptome in healthy subjects. Yet, it is an element of the variance that can be measured very precisely and will play an important role in the design of future studies. We therefore discuss how insights from ImmVar and similar studies inform experimental strategies and frame the design of future studies of immune function in health and disease.

PMID: 25819567