Interleukin-6 gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to myocardial infarction: the ECTIM study
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There is growing evidence that interleukin (IL) 6 plays an important role in the atherosclerotic process because of its role in mediating immune and inflammatory responses and inducing cell proliferation. The present study examined whether molecular variations at the IL-6 locus are involved in the predisposition to myocardial infarction. The entire coding region, 1158 bp of the 5′ flanking region and 237 bp of the 3′ flanking region of the IL-6 gene were screened. We detected three nucleotide substitutions in the 5′ region at positions -174 (G/C), -572 (G/C), and -596 (G/A) from the transcription start site, and one insertion/deletion in the 3′ region at position +528 after the Stop codon. These polymorphisms were genotyped in the Etude Cas-Témoin de l’Infarctus du Myocarde study comparing male patients (n=640) and age-matched controls (n=719) from Northern Ireland and France. The IL-6/G–174C and IL-6/G–596A polymorphisms were in nearly complete association. Carriers of the IL-6/–174 C allele were more frequent in patients than in controls. The population-adjusted odds ratio for myocardial infarction associated with genotype CC+CG vs. GG was estimated as 1.34. In French patients the number of coronary arteries with greater than 50% stenosis was assessed by angiography. The IL-6/–174 C allele was more frequent in patients with two or fewer stenosed vessels than in patients with three-vessel lesions. These results suggest that genetic variation at the IL-6 locus is associated with susceptibility to myocardial infarction, especially events occurring on less extended lesions. These findings would be compatible with a lower IL-6 secretion associated with the IL-6/–174 C allele, itself or in combination with other promoter polymorphisms, leading to more unstable plaques.
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