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
World’s Largest Study on Allergic Rhinitis Reveals new Risk Genes
17.07.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering