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Interleukin 10 promoter region polymorphisms and susceptibility to advanced alcoholic liver disease
  1. J Grovea,
  2. A K Dalyb,
  3. M F Bassendinea,
  4. E Gilvarryc,
  5. C P Daya
  1. aCentre for Liver Research, University of Newcastle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, bDepartment of Pharmacological Sciences, cDepartment of Psychiatry
  1. Dr C P Day, Department of Medicine, The Medical School, Framlington Place, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE2 4HH, UK


BACKGROUND The factors determining why less than 10% of heavy drinkers develop advanced alcoholic liver disease (ALD) remain elusive, although genetic factors may be important. Interleukin 10 (IL-10) is an important cytokine with anti-inflammatory, anti-immune, and antifibrotic functions. Several polymorphisms have been identified in the IL-10 promoter and recent evidence suggests that some of these may have functional effects on IL-10 secretion.

AIMS To test the hypothesis that IL-10 promoter region polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to ALD.

METHODS The allele frequencies for the two single base pair substitutions at positions −627 (C→A) and −1117 (A→G) in the IL-10 promoter were determined in 287 heavy drinkers with biopsy proved advanced ALD, 107 heavy drinkers with no evidence of liver disease or steatosis only on biopsy, and 227 local healthy volunteers.

RESULTS At position −627, 50% of patients with advanced ALD had a least one A allele compared with 33% of controls (p<0.0001) and 34% of drinkers with no or mild disease (p=0.017). At position −1117, the slight excess of the A allele in drinkers with advanced disease was because of linkage disequilibrium between the A alleles at the two sites.

CONCLUSIONS Among heavy drinkers, possession of the A allele at position −627 in the IL-10 promoter is associated with an increased risk of advanced liver disease. This is consistent with recent functional data that the −627*A allele is associated with low IL-10 expression which will favour inflammatory, immune mediated, and profibrotic mechanisms of alcohol related liver injury.

  • ethyl alcohol
  • cirrhosis
  • interleukin 10
  • genetic polymorphism

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  • Abbreviations used in this paper:
    alcoholic liver disease
    interleukin 10

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