Author(s): Sawczenko A, Azooz O, Paraszczuk J, Idestrom M, Croft NM,
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Abstract Inflammatory diseases frequently impair linear growth. Crohn's disease inhibits growth in up to one third of affected children. In rats with trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid-induced colitis, 40\% of growth impairment is attributable to inflammation, with the rest being due to undernutrition. In transgenic mice without inflammation, raised IL-6 retards growth, suppressing insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I. We hypothesized that IL-6, induced by intestinal inflammation, suppresses growth and inhibits IGF-I expression. Therefore, an anti-IL-6 Ab was given to rats with trinitrobenzene-sulphonic acid colitis. The Ab did not improve nutrient intake or decrease inflammation compared with untreated disease controls, but it significantly restored linear growth (P = 0.023) and increased IGF-I (P = 0.05). In humans, the IL-6 -174 G/C promoter polymorphism affects IL-6 transcription, with the GG genotype inducing the greatest IL-6 levels. Because IL-6 is increased in Crohn's disease, we further hypothesized that growth failure would vary with the IL-6 -174 genotype. At diagnosis, among 153 children with Crohn's disease, those with the IL-6 GG genotype were more growth-retarded than those with the GC or CC genotypes (height SD score, -0.51 vs. -0.10; P = 0.031). Also, the patients with the IL-6 GG genotype had higher circulating levels of C-reactive protein, an IL-6-induced product (36 vs. 18 mg/dl, P = 0.028). However, their risk of developing Crohn's disease was similar to other genotypes when compared with 351 healthy controls (P = 0.7). Thus, the IL-6 -174 genotype mediates growth failure in children with Crohn's disease.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology