Open Access Open Badges Research article

Prognostic value of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist gene polymorphism and cytomegalovirus seroprevalence in patients with coronary artery disease

Dietrich Rothenbacher1, Hermann Brenner1, Thomas Mertens2, Michael M Hoffmann3, Albrecht Hoffmeister4 and Wolfgang Koenig4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology, The German Centre for Research on Ageing, University of Heidelberg, Germany

2 Department of Virology, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany

3 Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

4 Department of Internal Medicine II-Cardiology, University of Ulm Medical Center, Ulm, Germany

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2005, 5:10  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-5-10

Published: 20 May 2005



Chronic inflammatory stimuli such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and various genetic polymorphisms determining the inflammatory response are assumed to be important risk factors in atherosclerosis. We investigated whether patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) and homozygous for allele 2 of the interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) gene and seropositive for CMV represent a group particular susceptible for recurrent cardiovascular events.


In a series of 300 consecutive patients with angiographically defined CAD a prospective follow-up was conducted (mean age 57.9 years, median follow-up time 38.2 months).


No statistically significant relationship was found between CMV serostatus and IL-1RN*2 (alone or in combination) and risk for future cardiovascular events (CVE). The hazard ratio (HR) for a CVE given positive CMV-serology and IL-1RN*2 was 1.07 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.32–3.72) in the fully adjusted model compared to seronegative CMV patients not carrying the IL-1RN*2 allele. In this prospective cohort study involving 300 patients with angiographically defined CAD at baseline, homozygousity for allele 2 of the IL-1 RA and seropositivity to CMV alone and in combination were not associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events during follow-up; in addition, combination of the CMV-seropositivity and IL-1RN*2 allele were not associated with a proinflammatory response


Our study suggests that seropositivity to CMV and IL-1RA*2 genotype alone or in combination might not be a strong risk factor for recurrent cardiovascular events in patients with manifest CAD, and is not associated with levels of established inflammatory markers.