Relationship of Plasma Interleukin-6 and Its Genetic Variants With Hypertension in Hong Kong Chinese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • BMY Cheung
  • KL Ong
  • AWK Tso
  • RYH Leung
  • SS Cherny
  • PC Sham
  • TH Lam
  • KSL Lam


Background Interleukin-6 (IL6) plays a central role in inflammation, insulin resistance, and atherogenesis. We investigated the associations of plasma IL6 and its genetic variants with hypertension in both cross-sectional and prospective study designs. METHODS Plasma IL6 was measured in 648 normotensive and 294 hypertensive subjects from the Hong Kong Cardiovascular Risk Factor Prevalence Study (CRISPS)-2 in 2000-2004 and three tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IL6 gene were genotyped. Among subjects normotensive in CRISPS-2 (baseline), 515 subjects were followed-up in CRISPS-3 in 2005-2008 and 100 of them had developed hypertension. Results At baseline, plasma IL6 correlated with systolic blood pressure (SBP) (r = 0.128, P <0.001). Hypertensive subjects had significantly higher plasma IL6 after adjusting for age and sex (geometric mean (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.60 (0.54-0.65) vs. 0.47 (0.44-0.50) ng/l, P = 0.021). In multiple logistic regression, higher plasma IL6 was associated with hypertension in women (P = 0.009), but not in men. The minor G allele of SNP rs1800796 was associated with lower plasma IL6 (geometric mean (95% CI) = 0.46 (0.41-0.51) ng/l for CG and 0.49 (0.39-0.62) ng/l for GG vs. 0.53 (0.50-0.57) ng/l for CC, P = 0.005). However, this SNP was not associated with hypertension or blood pressure at baseline. Among subjects normotensive in CRISPS-2, plasma IL6 was not associated with the development of hypertension in CRISPS-3. Conclusion The SNP rs1800796 affected plasma IL6 with a small effect size. Elevated plasma IL6 is associated with prevalent hypertension in women, but not incident hypertension.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1337
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011


  • blood pressure, hypertension, single-nucleotide polymorphism, interleukin-6