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Metabolism. 2010 Oct;59(10):1520-7. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2010.01.017. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

Genetic variation of the interleukin-1 family and nongenetic factors determining the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist phenotypes.

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Department of Medicine, HUCH-Helsinki University Central Hospital, Box 340 HUS, FI-00029 Helsinki, Finland.


The natural anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) inhibits the activity of IL-1 and is associated with vascular injury and metabolic disorders. We analyzed genetic and nongenetic determinants of the IL-1Ra phenotype. Fifteen haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IL-1α (IL1A), IL-1β (IL1B), and IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RN) genes were determined in the Health 2000 survey (n = 6771) and European myocardial infarction (MI) survivors (n = 972). Three SNPs were genotyped in the FINRISK97 (FR97) study (n = 7222). We found 3 IL1RN variants that were associated with the IL-1Ra phenotype in the study populations and remained significant after Bonferroni correction with increasing significance in meta-analysis (P values for rs3213448,rs315952, rs315949, respectively: 5.5 x 10(-11), 1.5 x 10(-11), and 4.0 x 10(-14)). Minor allele of the rare IL1B variant rs1143642 was associated with decreased IL-1Ra levels in the Health 2000 and FR97 populations, and the association strengthened in the meta-analysis (P = 9.4 x 10(-7)). The proportion of variance explained by the IL1RN variant was larger in MI survivors (5.0%) than in the unselected population (0.5%). Body mass index was the strongest nongenetic predictor of the IL-1Ra phenotype, explaining 11.8% of the variance in Health 2000, 18.1% in FR97, and 25% in MI survivors. In conclusion, 3 IL1RN SNPs and 1 IL1B variant were determining IL-1Ra phenotype independently of body mass index and other metabolic phenotypes. The proportion of phenotypic variation in IL-1Ra explained by the genetic variants was, however, modest compared with the proportion explained by the body mass index.

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