Variation in Interleukin 6 Receptor Gene Associates With Risk of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

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Interleukin 6 (IL6) is an inflammatory cytokine; signaling via its receptor (IL6R) is believed to contribute to development of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The single nucleotide polymorphism rs2228145 in IL6R associates with increased levels of soluble IL6R (s-IL6R), as well as reduced IL6R signaling and risk of inflammatory disorders; its effects are similar to those of a therapeutic monoclonal antibody that blocks IL6R signaling. We used the effect of rs2228145 on s-IL6R level as an indirect marker to investigate whether reduced IL6R signaling associates with risk of ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD). In a genome-wide meta-analysis of 20,550 patients with CD, 17,647 patients with UC, and more than 40,000 individuals without IBD (controls), we found that rs2228145 (scaled to a 2-fold increase in s-IL6R) was associated with reduced risk of CD (odds ratio 0.876; 95% confidence interval 0.822–0.933; P =.00003) or UC (odds ratio 0.932; 95% confidence interval 0.875–0.996; P =.036). These findings indicate that therapeutics designed to block IL6R signaling might be effective in treatment of IBD.




Parisinos, C. A., Serghiou, S., Katsoulis, M., George, M. J., Patel, R. S., Hemingway, H., & Hingorani, A. D. (2018). Variation in Interleukin 6 Receptor Gene Associates With Risk of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Gastroenterology, 155(2), 303-306.e2.

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