Neurology 2019 May 19;92(20):e2375-e2384. Epub 2019 Apr 19.
From the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (N.S.J., N.A.Z., M.C.) and Medicine (N.A.Z., M.C.), University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, Burlington; Department of Biometry (P.W.C.), University of Vermont, Burlington; Department of Biostatistics (S.E.J.), University of Alabama at Birmingham; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (L.A.M.), Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA; and Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine (B.K.), University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, OH.
Objective: We studied circulating interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and IL-10 concentrations and incident ischemic stroke risk in a biracial cohort, and determined if these cytokines mediated the racial disparity in stroke incidence affecting the black population.
Methods: The Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study enrolled 30,237 black and white men and women age ≥45 in 2003-2007. We measured baseline IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 in a case-cohort study of 557 participants with incident stroke over 5.4 years and 951 participants in a cohort sample.
Results: IL-6, but not IL-8 or IL-10, was higher in cases compared to the cohort sample (mean 4.5 vs 3.7 ng/mL; < 0.001). Only IL-6 was associated with stroke risk factors. Adjusting for age, sex, and race, the hazard ratio (HR; 95% confidence interval) for incident stroke for the highest vs lowest quartile of IL-6 was 2.4 (1.6-3.4). HRs for the highest vs lowest quartiles of IL-8 and IL-10 were 1.5 (1.0-2.1) and 1.4 (1.0-1.9), respectively. After additional adjustment for stroke risk factors, only higher IL-6 remained associated with stroke risk (HR 2.0; 1.2-3.1). Associations did not differ by race. Mediation analyses showed that IL-6 mediated the black-white disparity in stroke risk, but mediation was via IL-6 associations with stroke risk factors.
Conclusions: In this biracial population-based sample, IL-6 was strongly associated with risk of incident stroke and mediated the racial disparity in stroke via inflammatory effects of risk factors. Further study on the clinical utility of IL-6 measurement in stroke risk assessment would be helpful.