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Hum Genet. 1996 Mar;97(3):369-74.

Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist allele (IL1RN*2) associated with nephropathy in diabetes mellitus.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Sheffield, UK.


We have previously found association between an allele of the interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist gene (IL1RN) and several inflammatory diseases, where IL-1 has been implicated in the inflammatory mechanism. We have now, therefore, tested the association of this specific allele (IL1RN*2) with complications of diabetes which have an inflammatory tissue component. We have tested the allele frequency of IL1RN*2 in 128 patients with insulin-dependent and 125 with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). There was a significant association between carriage of IL1RN*2 and diabetic nephropathy (P<0.001, Pcorrected<0.0012). The association was significant in both types of diabetes, but the observed increase was highest in NIDDM, rising to double the control levels. It appears that IL1RN*2 is a novel genetic marker of severity of inflammatory complications of diseases rather than a marker of disease susceptibility. If the DNA polymorphism is associated with altered gene function, new therapeutic interventions may be possible.

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