Age and functional correlations of markers of coagulation and inflammation in the elderly: functional implications of elevated crosslinked fibrin degradation products (D-dimers).
OBJECTIVE: To measure markers of inflammation in a cohort of young and old subjects and relate these findings to the functional level of the individuals. DESIGN: For the pilot study, blood samples were obtained from 18 young (age 20-35 years) and 18 old (age 68-83 years) subjects. The main study population included community-dwelling subjects between the ages of 70 and 79. The group consisted of 282 subjects with minimal physical limitations, 17 subjects from the middle third, and 16 from the lower third of physical function rankings. METHODS: Plasma markers were measured by ELISA techniques, and certain biochemical values were obtained through routine clinical tests performed by a commercial laboratory. RESULTS: D-Dimers were higher for physically impaired subjects in all groups, but most prominently among black females, who also had significantly higher D-Dimer levels in every functional group. To inquire whether higher D-Dimers were associated with markers of inflammation, we also examined the macrophage metabolite, neopterin, the neutrophil product, elastase complexed to antitrypsin (E/a), and the albumin globulin ratio (A/G ratio). No differences were found in neopterin or E/a levels on the basis of gender, race, or functional status. The A/G ratio was significantly lower in functionally impaired subjects. CONCLUSION: These preliminary findings demonstrate racial/ethnic and gender differences in D-Dimers in a population of community-dwelling elderly, and suggest that factors influencing hemostasis may be particularly relevant to physical functional status in black women. A sample containing more subjects with lower physical function will be needed to establish the relationship between inflammation, altered hemostasis, and physical function decline.
Currie, MS; Rao, MK; Blazer, DG; Cohen, HJ
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