Discrepancy of interleukin-6 levels between end-stage renal disease patients and patients with acute-phase response with increased lipoprotein(a) concentrations

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Though the concentration of serum lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] is mostly determined by genetic factors, secondary factors such as acute-phase response (APR) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) also contribute to its increase. Lp(a) is known to be one of the acute-phase reactants and interleukin-6 (IL-6) is the key cytokine in the hepatic synthesis of acute-phase proteins. The serum concentrations of Lp(a) and IL-6 were measured in patients with APR and in patients with ESRD to investigate the relationship between Lp(a) and IL-6. A total of 180 patients were selected for the study: 60 patients were normal controls, 60 were patients with renal disease who had been on hemodialysis for more than 6 months [C-reactive protein (CRP)<4.0 mg/L], and 60 were APR patients who had a erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) of over 50 mm/h. The three groups were age- and sex matched. The serum concentrations of Lp(a) and IL-6 were measured by ELISA. The serum concentrations of Lp(a) [median (interquartile range)] in normal controls, ESRD patients, and APR patients were 0.222 (0.103–0.364) g/L, 0.511 (0.308–0.755) g/L, and 0.546 (0.234–0.747) g/L, respectively; those of IL-6 were 1.0 (0.7–1.3) pg/mL, 2.1 (1.4–3.3) pg/mL, and 26.2 (15.2–35.6) pg/mL. The concentration of IL-6, which increases Lp(a) synthesis, was much lower in ESRD patients than in APR patients (p<0.001). However, there were no significant differences in Lp(a) concentration between the two groups (p=0.88). In APR patients, the increase in Lp(a) synthesis seems to play a significant role in the increase in blood Lp(a), but there might be different mechanisms that regulate the increment of serum Lp(a) concentrations in ESRD patients other than synthesis of Lp(a).

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