Antagonistic Pleiotropy at the Human IL6 Promoter Confers Genetic Resilience to the Pro-Inflammatory Effects of Adverse Social Conditions in Adolescence

Steven W. Cole, Jesusa M.G. Arevalo, Kavya Manu, Eva H. Telzer, Lisa Kiang, Julienne E. Bower, Michael R. Irwin, Andrew J. Fuligni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The authors tested the evolutionary genetic hypothesis that the functional form of an asymmetrically risky Gene × Environment interaction will differ as a function of age-related antagonistic pleiotropy (i.e., show opposite effects in young vs. old individuals). Previous studies have identified a polymorphism in the human IL6 promoter (rs1800795; IL6 -174 G/C) that interacts with adverse socioenvironmental conditions to promote chronic inflammation in older adults (elevated C-reactive protein). This study identifies a protective effect of the same polymorphism in 17- to 19-year-old adolescents confronting socioeconomic adversity. Over 60% of the environmental risk contribution to the IL6 × Socioeconomic Status interaction could be accounted for by interpersonal stress and adult role burden. Thus, the IL6 -174G allele does not represent an undifferentiated risk factor but instead sensitizes inflammatory biology to socioenvironmental conditions, conferring either genetic vulnerability or resilience depending on the developmental " somatic environment" that interacts with social conditions to influence gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1180
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Inflammation
  • SES
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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