Open Access Research article

Common interleukin-6 promoter variants associate with the more severe forms of distal interphalangeal osteoarthritis

Olli-Pekka Kämäräinen1, Svetlana Solovieva2, Tapio Vehmas2, Katariina Luoma3, Hilkka Riihimäki2, Leena Ala-Kokko14, Minna Männikkö1* and Päivi Leino-Arjas2

Author affiliations

1 Collagen Research Unit, Biocenter and Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Oulu, 90220 Oulu, Finland

2 Centre of Expertise for Health and Work Ability, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, 00250 Helsinki, Finland

3 Department of Radiology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, 00290 Helsinki, Finland

4 Connective Tissue Gene Tests, Allentown, PA 18103, USA

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2008, 10:R21  doi:10.1186/ar2374

Published: 8 February 2008

Abstract

Introduction

The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship of the IL-6 promoter variants G-597A, G-572C and G-174C (rs1800797, rs1800796 and rs1800795, respectively), which have been shown to affect both the transcription and secretion of IL-6, to symptomatic distal interphalangeal (DIP) osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods

A total of 535 women aged 45 to 63 years were included. Radiographs of both hands were taken and each DIP joint was evaluated (grade 0 to 4) for the presence of OA. Information on symptoms (pain, tenderness) in each joint was collected by using a self-administered questionnaire. Symptomatic DIP OA was defined by the presence of both radiographic findings of grade 2 or more and symptoms in at least two DIP joints, and symmetrical DIP OA by the presence of radiographic findings of grade 2 or more in at least one symmetrical pair of DIP joints. Common polymorphic loci in the IL-6 gene were amplified and the promoter haplotypes were reconstructed from genotype data with the PHASE program. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between the IL-6 genotypes/diplotypes and the DIP OA outcome.

Results

The G alleles of two promoter single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) G-597A and G-174C were more common among the subjects with symptomatic DIP OA than among those with no disease (P = 0.020 and 0.024, corrected for multiple testing). In addition, the carriage of at least one G allele in these positions increased the risk of disease (P = 0.006 and P = 0.008, respectively). Carrying a haplotype with the G allele in all three promoter SNPs increased the risk of symptomatic DIP OA more than fourfold (odds ratio (OR) 4.45, P = 0.001). Carriage of the G-G diplotype indicated an increased risk of both symmetrical DIP OA (OR 1.52, 95% confidence interval 1.01 to 2.28) and symptomatic DIP OA (OR 3.67, 95% confidence interval 1.50 to 9.00).

Conclusion

The present study showed that the presence of G alleles at common IL-6 polymorphic promoter loci was associated with the more severe DIP OA outcomes, symmetrical and symptomatic.