Objective: Cytokine interleukin-1beta plays a central role in the inflammation process. Serum levels of IL-1beta are elevated in patients with alcoholic liver disease (ALD), especially in those with cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis. Recently, the presence of genetic polymorphisms of this cytokine was confirmed. The aim of this study was to determine whether IL-1beta polymorphisms are associated with the development of ALD.
Methods: We examined the frequency of two polymorphisms in the IL-1beta gene located in promoter -511 and exon 5 +3953 locus by restriction fragment length polymorphisms in 142 male patients with ALD, 30 heavy drinkers without ALD, and 218 healthy controls.
Results: The carriers of -511 IL-1beta allele 2 were present significantly more often in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis than in those with noncirrhotic ALD (p = 0.026), heavy drinkers without ALD (p = 0.001), and healthy controls (p = 0.032). The frequencies of allele 2 and heterozygotes of +3953 polymorphism were both significantly higher in heavy drinkers without ALD than in patients with ALD (allele, p = 0.030; genotype, p = 0.027) and healthy controls (allele, p = 0.047; genotype, p = 0.043). The haplotype, IL-1beta -511 allele 2/+3953 allele 1 was associated with the development of alcoholic cirrhosis (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: These results suggest that IL-1beta polymorphisms may be related to the development of ALD in Japanese alcoholics.