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Association between a functional interleukin 6 receptor genetic variant and risk of depression and psychosis in a population-based birth cohort

Khandaker, GM; Zammit, S; Burgess, S; Lewis, G; Jones, PB; (2018) Association between a functional interleukin 6 receptor genetic variant and risk of depression and psychosis in a population-based birth cohort. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity , 69 pp. 264-272. 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.11.020. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels are commonly elevated in patients with depression and psychosis and in people who are at risk of developing these disorders. A common, functional variant in the IL6R gene (IL6R Asp358Ala; rs2228145 A > C) is known to dampen down inflammation by impairing IL6R signaling. We have examined the association of Asp358Ala with diagnosis of depression and psychosis, serum IL-6, CRP levels, and a number of risk factors commonly linked with inflammation, depression or psychosis. We predicted that if IL-6 were related to depression/psychosis risk causally, rather than due to confounding, Asp358Ala would be associated with risk of these disorders, serum IL-6, CRP levels, but not with any of the confounders. METHOD: We used data from the population-based ALSPAC birth cohort. Serum IL-6 and CRP levels were measured at age 9 years. Psychotic disorder, ICD-10 diagnosis of severe depressive episode, and total depression score were assessed at age 18 years. IL6R Asp358Ala was genotyped using the Illumina HumanHap550 quad genome-wide SNP genotyping platform. Risk factors assessed include sex, body mass index, social class, ethnicity, maternal education, birth weight, gestational age, maternal post-natal depression, childhood psychological and behavioral problems, and total IQ score. RESULTS: Asp358Ala was associated with decreased risk of severe depression and/or psychosis; adjusted odds ratio for those with CC, compared with AA, genotype was 0.38 (95% CI, 0.15-0.94). The variant was associated with increased serum IL-6 levels (P = 5.5 × 10-22) but decreased serum CRP levels (P = 3.5 × 10-5), consistent with an anti-inflammatory effect downstream of IL-6. Asp358Ala was not associated with total depression score. Asp358Ala was not associated with any of the other risk factors commonly linked with inflammation, depression or psychosis (all P > 0.20). CONCLUSIONS: The findings provide further evidence that the IL-6/IL6R pathways are involved in pathogenesis of severe depression and psychosis, and may be novel therapeutic targets. Previously reported associations between IL-6, depression and psychosis are unlikely to be fully explained by confounding. Based on a small number of cases, findings from the current study need replication in other samples.

Type: Article
Title: Association between a functional interleukin 6 receptor genetic variant and risk of depression and psychosis in a population-based birth cohort
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.11.020
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2017.11.020
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: ALSPAC birth cohort, Asp358Ala, Depression, IL-6, IL6R, Immunopsychiatry, Inflammation, Interleukin 6, Interleukin 6 receptor, Interleukin 6 receptor gene, Mendelian randomization, Psychosis, rs2228145
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040404
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