Background: Wasting and inflammation are two common risk factors for death in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and its receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) may play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of wasting and inflammation. Methods: To investigate effects of the IL-1 gene cluster polymorphisms on wasting and inflammation, we studied 189 ESRD patients (52 ± 12 years, 62% males) close to the start of renal replacement therapy. 205 healthy volunteers served as controls. We analyzed the IL-1B –511C/T, –31C/T, and +3954C/T polymorphisms as well as a variable number of a tandem repeat (VNTR) in IL-1RN. Nutritional parameters included serum albumin level, subjective global nutritional assessment (SGA), and body composition evaluated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). We used serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) as a marker of inflammation. Results: Wasting (SGA >1) was present in 31%, whereas inflammation (CRP ≧10 mg/l) was present in 36% of the patients. The male carriers of the –511T/T and –31C/C genotypes had a lower prevalence of wasting (p < 0.05), higher body mass index (BMI) (p < 0.05), and higher lean body mass (LBM) (p < 0.01). In a stepwise multiple regression model, age (p < 0.05), BMI (p < 0.01) and the IL-1B –511 genotype (p < 0.01) were independently associated with LBM. The carriers of the +3954T allele had a lower prevalence of inflammation (p < 0.05) and lower serum hsCRP (p < 0.05). The VNTR in IL-1RN was not associated with any markers. Conclusion: The investigated IL-1 gene cluster polymorphisms were associated with nutritional status and inflammation in ESRD patients, but marked differences were found between the genders. These polymorphisms could have prognostic utility for predicting wasting and inflammation in ESRD patients.

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