Background: Cytokine-orchestrated chronic inflammation plays a major role in long-term morbidity and mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on hemodialysis (HD). In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated the association between specific alleles/genotypes and combinations of genotypes of interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and IL-10 with indices of comorbidity, functional status, and other biological markers in a cohort of 183 ESRD patients recruited to the Hemodialysis (HEMO) Study from two Boston centers.
Methods: Genotyping was performed for single nucleotide polymorphisms in the promoter region of IL-6 (-174 G-->C), TNF-alpha (-308 G-->A), and IL-10 (-1082 G-->A). The relationship of specific genotypes to the index of coexistent disease (ICED) score (an index of comorbidity), Karnofsky Index (a measure of functional status), serum albumin, and nutritional indices (anthropometric measurements, body mass index, normalized protein catabolic ratio) were studied. Plasma IL-6 levels, as well as TNF-alpha and IL-10 production by endotoxin-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), were also measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Results: Patients with the high producer genotypes for the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 (G/G and G/C) and TNF-alpha (G/A and A/A) had significantly higher comorbidity (ICED scores of > or =2) and lower functional scores (Karnofsky Index) compared with patients with the low producer genotypes for these cytokines (C/C and G/G, respectively). In contrast, patients with the high and intermediate producer genotypes (G/G and G/A) for the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 had a higher Karnofsky Index compared with those with the low producer genotype (A/A). Serum albumin levels were lower in patients with the TNF-alpha high producer genotype (G/A and A/A) compared with those with the low producer genotype (G/A and A/A). On multivariate analysis, the IL-6 high producer genotypes were associated with an odds ratio (OR) of 4.87 for higher comorbidity (ICED scores > or =2) (P= 0.02), and 4.9 for lower Karnofsky Index (lower functional status) (P= 0.04) compared with patients with the low IL-6 producer genotypes. Similarly, the TNF-alpha high producer genotype was associated with increased odds for a higher ICED score, lower Karnofsky Index, and lower serum albumin compared with patients with the low producer genotype for this cytokine. In contrast, the IL-10 high/intermediate producer genotype was associated with increased odds for a higher Karnofsky Index (P= 0.05). Cytokine genotype combinations-the TNF-alpha high producer and IL-6 high producer genotype combination, and the IL-6 high producer and IL-10 low producer genotype combination-were independently associated with a higher ICED score. These genotype combinations, as well as the TNF-alpha high producer and IL-10 low producer genotype combination, were also associated with a lower Karnofsky Index.
Conclusion: In ESRD patients on long-term HD, single nucleotide polymorphisms in the promoter region of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-alpha, and the regulatory monokine IL-10, show a strong association with indices of comorbidity and function, and biological and nutritional markers.