The association of plasma IL-6 levels with functional disability in community-dwelling elderly.
BACKGROUND: IL-6 is a multifunctional cytokine that has been shown to increase with age. METHODS: Plasma IL-6 was measured by ELISA in 1,727 community-dwelling elderly subjects whose blood was drawn during the third in-person survey of the Duke Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (EPESE). Demographics, functional status (disability), and disease states were determined. Correlations of these factors with IL-6 were analyzed with Spearman's Rho while differences between groups were assessed by Wilcoxon test. RESULTS: IL-6 levels were higher with age (p = .0001) even in this older population (> 70 years). There was a positive correlation between IL-6 and functional disability for each of the functional status measures (p = .0001), as well as a correlation between self-rated health and IL-6. Significantly higher median levels of IL-6 were found in subjects reporting prevalent cancer, heart attack, and high blood pressure, but not diabetes or arthritis. The association between age and functional status with high IL-6 remained when all other variables were controlled, in multivariable analysis. CONCLUSIONS: This association between increased plasma IL-6 levels and functional status suggests that dysregulation of IL-6 may be related to the functional disability seen with aging, and that IL-6 may be useful as a component of an overall marker of health.
Cohen, HJ; Pieper, CF; Harris, T; Rao, KM; Currie, MS
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