Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is required for the clearance of bacteria in pneumococcal pneumonia. The abundance of endogenous IL-6 production on infectious stimuli is associated with genotypic differences in the -174 promoter region of IL-6 (-174 G→C), showing increased IL-6 levels in patients carrying the GG genotype. One hundred patients with culturally proven pneumococcal disease were analyzed for distribution of the G-/C-alleles in the IL-6 -174 promoter region in comparison to 50 age-matched controls. Extrapulmonary pneumococcal dissemination, including septic metastasis, endocardial and meningeal infection, was used as parameter for impaired clearance of the bacteria. No significant differences in the allele distribution were observed between patients and controls. Within the patient group, the interleukin-6 GG homozygous carriers were less likely to develop extrapulmonary pneumococcal infection (10.3% versus 30.9%; OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.07-0.94, p = 0.04). The IL-6 GG genotype, encoding for enhanced IL-6 secretion on bacterial stimuli, reduces the risk of bacterial spread to extrapulmonary sites in pneumococcal infection, possibly due to a more effective clearance of the pathogen from the blood and the respiratory tract.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)