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Eur J Immunogenet. 2004 Oct;31(5):207-13.

C-reactive protein levels and common polymorphisms of the interleukin-1 gene cluster and interleukin-6 gene in patients with coronary heart disease.

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Latvian Centre of Cardiology, P. Stradins Clinical University Hospital, Riga.


C-reactive protein (CRP) is an inflammatory marker associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Production of CRP is regulated by interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-1 receptor antagonist and IL-6. In 160 patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) confirmed by angiography, we examined the relationship between CRP level and five polymorphisms in genes coding for these cytokines: IL-1B(-511), IL-1B(+3954), a variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphism in intron 2 of IL-1RN [IL-1RN(VNTR)], IL-6(-174) and IL-6(-572). CRP values were logarithmically normalized (log-CRP) for statistical calculations. In univariate analysis, carrier status for the IL-1B(+3954)T allele and IL-1RN(VNTR) allele 2 [IL-1RN(VNTR)*2] correlated with higher (P < 0.01) and lower (P < 0.05) log-CRP values, respectively. Among the potential confounding factors analysed, smoking, body mass index, total cholesterol (P < 0.05 for all) and diabetes (P = 0.056) were positively correlated with CRP level. After adjustment for non-genetic covariates, CRP levels remained significantly (P < 0.01) higher in carriers of IL-1B(+3954)T than in non-carriers: mean log-CRP (with 95% confidence interval) was 0.443 (0.311-0.574) for CT or TT genotypes compared with 0.240 (0.107-0.373) for the CC genotype, which corresponded to back-transformed CRP levels of 2.77 and 1.74 mg l(-1), respectively. Adjusted association was also significant for IL-1RN(VNTR)*2 (P < 0.01), with lower CRP levels in the presence of allele 2: the mean log-CRP value was 0.252 (0.115-0.388) for carriers and 0.421 (0.290-0.552) for non-carriers (CRP 1.79 and 2.64 mg l(-1), respectively). When alleles of both polymorphisms were entered into the model simultaneously, the association remained significant for IL-1B(+3954)T (P < 0.05), but not for IL-1RN(VNTR)*2. We conclude that IL-1B(+3954)T is associated with higher CRP levels in patients with CHD, and we found that this association was significant after adjustment for major risk factors. Our data also suggest a possible relationship of IL-1RN(VNTR)*2 with lower CRP levels in the same patients.

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