Raised interleukin-10 is an indicator of poor outcome and enhanced systemic inflammation in patients with acute coronary syndrome

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To re-evaluate the relation between plasma interleukin-10 (IL-10) concentration at hospital admission and outcome and to investigate the impact of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the IL-10 gene in patients with non-ST elevation acute coronary syndrome (ACS).


Determination of IL-10 plasma concentrations and genotyping of SNPs in the IL-10 gene in a prospective trial of patients with ACS and in a group of healthy controls.


3179 patients in the Fragmin and fast revascularisation during InStability in Coronary artery disease II (FRISC II) trial and 393 healthy controls.

Main outcome measures:

Mortality and incidence of myocardial infarction (MI) at 12 months.


The median and interquartile ranges of IL-10 were 0.8 (0.5–1.0) pg/ml in healthy controls and 1.1 (0.7–1.9) pg/ml in patients (p<0.001). In patients, IL-10 predicted a crude risk increase of death/MI, with the highest risk observed in the fourth quartile (adjusted odds ratio 1.7 (95% confidence interval 1.2 to 2.3)). Adjustment for common risk indicators, including C-reactive protein and interleukin-6, weakened the association to a non-significant level. The 1170 CC genotype weakly predicted increased plasma concentrations of IL-10 in patients (p = 0.04) and in controls (p = 0.03), which was consistent with the modest association of this variant with coronary disease (p = 0.01).


In contrast with some previous reports, we conclude that IL-10 reflects a proinflammatory state in patients with ACS and we therefore suggest that IL-10 is as effective a biomarker for the risk prediction of future cardiovascular events as other markers of systemic inflammation.

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