Objective: Interleukin-6 protein has been suggested as a mediator connecting chronic stress and cardiovascular diseases. We investigated whether the functional G174C polymorphism (rs1800795) of interleukin-6 gene is associated with vital exhaustion, a measure of chronic stress, or with preclinical atherosclerosis.
Methods: Associations between the interleukin-6-174G>C polymorphism, preclinical atherosclerosis, and vital exhaustion were examined in 1673 women and men aged 24-39years participating in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study. Vital exhaustion was measured using Maastricht Questionnaire. Preclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by carotid intima-media thickness using ultrasound techniques. DNA was genotyped for the interleukin-6-174G>C polymorphism (rs1800795).
Results: The GG genotype of the interleukin-6-174G>C polymorphism was associated with higher vital exhaustion. Moreover, higher vital exhaustion was associated with greater intima-media thickness in men carrying G alleles, adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors.
Conclusion: Our findings support a role for the interleukin-6-174G>C polymorphism in increased risk of atherosclerosis in individuals with chronic stress. In addition, individuals carrying the G allele of the interleukin-6-174G>C polymorphism may be more prone to adverse effects of psychosocial stress.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Chronic stress; Gene polymorphism; Interleukin-6.
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