, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 368-382
Date: 03 May 2014

The Contribution of the Functional IL6R Polymorphism rs2228145, eQTLs and Other Genome-Wide SNPs to the Heritability of Plasma sIL-6R Levels

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The non-synonymous SNP rs2228145 in the IL6R gene on chromosome 1q21.3 is associated with a wide range of common diseases, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and coronary heart disease. We examined the contribution of this functional IL6R gene polymorphism rs2228145 versus other genome-wide SNPs to the variance of sIL-6R levels in blood plasma in a large population-based sample (N ~5,000), and conducted an expression QTL analysis to identify SNPs associated with IL6R gene expression. Based on data from 2,360 twin families, the broad heritability of sIL-6R was estimated at 72 and 51 % of the total variance was explained by the functional SNP rs2228145. Converging findings from GWAS, linkage, and GCTA analyses indicate that additional variance of sIL-6R levels can be explained by other variants in the IL6R region, including variants at the 3′-end of IL6R tagged by rs60760897 that are associated with IL6R RNA expression.

Edited by Sarah Medland.
Dorret I. Boomsma and Eco J. C. de Geus have contributed equally to this study.
Australian Asthma Genetics Consortium (AAGC), the full list of authors is given in the Supplementary material.