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Interleukin-6 G(−174)C polymorphism is associated with mental retardation in cystic periventricular leucomalacia in preterm infants
  1. B Resch1,
  2. A Radinger1,
  3. C Mannhalter2,
  4. A Binder3,
  5. J Haas4,
  6. W D Müller1
  1. 1
    Division of Neonatology, Department of Paediatrics, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  2. 2
    Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  3. 3
    Division of General Paediatrics, Department of Paediatrics, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  4. 4
    Medical Statistics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  1. Professor Bernhard Resch, Department of Paediatrics, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 30, A-8036 Graz, Austria; bernhard.resch{at}


Objective: The fetal inflammatory response syndrome involving proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been associated with cystic periventricular leukomalacia (cPVL). We evaluated whether the development of cPVL is associated with the IL-6 G(−174)C polymorphism.

Methods: 52 children with cPVL were compared to 46 preterm and 395 term controls using retrospective cohort analysis. IL-6 genotyping was performed using an allele specific polymerase chain reaction technique.

Results: IL-6 G(−174)C polymorphisms did not differ between groups, but an association between mental retardation and the IL-6 C/C (78%) and G/C (43%) genotypes compared to the G/G (25%) genotype was found (p = 0.003 and 0.043, respectively; RR 3.11 (95% CI 1.54 to 6.29) and 1.79 (95% CI 1.10 to 2.92), respectively).

Conclusions: The IL-6 (−174) C/C and G/C genotypes were associated with mental retardation in cPVL and seem to modify the severity of perinatal brain injury.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Funding: The study was supported by scholarships from the Medical University of Graz and the Erich-Lackner-Stiftung (Erich Lackner Foundation).

  • The study has been presented in part at the Meeting of the European Society of Paediatric Research in Prague in October 2007 (oral presentation).

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was obtained from the Ethics Committee, Medical University of Graz.