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Ann Med. 2010 Apr;42(3):223-30. doi: 10.3109/07853891003769940.

Interleukin-18 gene polymorphism and markers of subclinical atherosclerosis. The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Finland.



Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is a pro-atherosclerotic cytokine. We wanted to evaluate whether IL-18 gene polymorphism associates independently of risk factors, with early subclinical markers of atherosclerosis (intima-media thickness (IMT), coronary artery compliance (CAC), and flow-mediated dilatation (FMD)) in a population of young healthy Caucasian adults.


This study was based on the on-going Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study consisting of 2260 young adults, mean age being 31.7 (range 24-39 years) (1247 women and 1013 men).


Five studied tagSNPs formed six major haplotypes, which accounted for 99.9% of all variation of the IL-18 gene. According to adjusted analysis of variance, the IL-18 gene polymorphism did not associate with subclinical atherosclerosis in the whole study population. However, one major haplotype associated differently among men and women with IMT (P = 0.011). Male carriers of a major CCTgT haplotype (n = 441) seemed to have a lower IMT when compared to the non-carriers (-0.016 mm, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.028 to -0.004, P = 0.014). Among women no significant associations were observed.


Among all study subjects, the polymorphism of the IL-18 gene is not associated with subclinical markers of atherosclerosis. However, among men one major IL-18 haplotype seemed to associate with substantially lower IMT values.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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