Individuals with increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood are at increased risk for various diseases linked to inflammation, such as colorectal cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Now, a research team in Japan including Yukinori Okada and colleagues at the RIKEN Center for Genomic Medicine in Yokohama, reports that single-nucleotide changes in three genes can affect the blood levels of CRP in Japanese individuals. Two of these genes, CRP and HNF1A, had already been found to affect Caucasians, but it was unclear if those same genes would also play a role in Japanese people.
Doctors often measure blood CRP levels in the clinic to determine a patient’s risk for inflammation-associated diseases. CRP is synthesized in the liver in response to inflammation in the body so elevated levels signal a problem, such as infectious and autoimmune diseases.
Okada and his colleagues found the three genes that were correlated with changes in blood CRP levels in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of some 13,000 Japanese individuals (Fig. 1). Their discovery of a single-nucleotide change in the interleukin-6 (IL-6) gene in the Japanese population, however, was not detected in the GWAS of Caucasians.
The IL-6 gene encodes a pro-inflammatory cytokine, IL-6, which has been linked to a variety of immune reactions, and plays a key role in inducing fever in response to infection. Blockers of IL-6 receptor are used successfully in the clinic to reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, a disease long linked to joint inflammation. “The identified variation in IL-6 could therefore be a promising target in the pharmacogenomics [matching drugs to an individual’s specific genetic variants] of IL-6 blocking therapy,” explains Okada.
The researchers also examined the blood of over 30,000 Japanese patients to determine whether or not the single-nucleotide change in IL-6 that leads to increases in blood CRP levels could affect any other hematological or biochemical markers used in medical practice. They found an increase in: white blood cells, which are involved in inflammation; platelets, which are involved in blood clotting; and serum protein levels, all of which are associated with the IL-6 gene variant that increases CRP levels. They also found a decrease in anemia-related markers.
The link between IL-6, CRP, and these blood parameters could explain why patients with elevated CRP have an increased risk for inflammation-related diseases, and, according to Okada, could provide a clue for how to move forward with personalized medicine. Okada next plans on extending the study to Africans and Caucasians.
 Okada, Y., Takahashi, A., Ohmiya, H., Kumasaka, N., Kamatani, Y., Hosono, M., Tsunoda, T., Matsuda, K., Tanaka, T., Kubo, M., et al. Genome-wide association study for C-reactive protein levels identified pleiotropic associations in the IL6 locus. Human Molecular Genetics advance online publication, 31 December 2010 (doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddq551).
gro-pr | Research asia research news
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy