Association of a common TLR-6 polymorphism with coronary artery disease - implications for healthy ageing?

Immun Ageing. 2013 Oct 30;10(1):43. doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-10-43.


Background: The pro-inflammatory status of the elderly triggers most of the age-related diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, the leading cause world wide of morbidity and death, is an inflammatory disease influenced by life-style and genetic host factors. Stimuli such as oxLDL or microbial ligands have been proposed to trigger inflammation leading to atherosclerosis. It has recently been shown that oxLDL activates immune cells via the Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4/6 complex. Several common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the TLR system have been associated with atherosclerosis. To investigate the role of TLR-6 we analyzed the association of the TLR-6 SNP Pro249Ser with atherogenesis.

Results: Genotyping of two independent groups with CAD, as well as of healthy controls revealed a significant association of the homozygous genotype with a reduced risk for atherosclerosis (odds ratio: 0.69, 95% CI 0.51-0.95, P = 0.02). In addition, we found a trend towards an association with the risk of restenosis after transluminal coronary angioplasty (odds ratio: 0.53, 95% CI 0.24-1.16, P = 0.12). In addition, first evidence is presented that the frequency of this protective genotype increases in a healthy population with age. Taken together, our results define a role for TLR-6 and its genetic variations in modulating the inflammatory response leading to atherosclerosis.

Conclusions: These results may lead to a better risk stratification, and potentially to an improved prophylactic treatment of high-risk populations. Furthermore, the protective effect of this polymorphism may lead to an increase of this genotype in the healthy elderly and may therefore be a novel genetic marker for the well-being during aging.