IL-6 gene variation is not associated with increased serum levels of IL-6, muscle, weakness, or frailty in older women

J. Walston, D. E. Arking, D. Fallin, T. Li, B. Beamer, Q. Xue, L. Ferrucci, L. P. Fried, A. Chakravarti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elevated levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 are associated with the development of disability, frailty, and mortality in older adults. These outcomes are likely mediated through inflammatory activity that alters hormones, skeletal muscle, and the immune system. Polymorphic variants in the IL-6 gene influence IL-6 expression. We hypothesized that IL-6 alleles associate with increased serum of IL-6, decreased muscle strength, and frailty, and tested this in the Women's Health and Aging cohorts. We genotyped 463 participants age 70-79, and identified three common IL-6 haplotype blocks for the Caucasian (n=363) and African American (n=100) subsets. Using linear and logistic regression, and adjusting for age, BMI, race, and osteoarthritis, we identified no significant or clinically meaningful relationship between any single IL-6 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) or any IL-6 haplotype and serum IL-6 level, grip, knee, or hip strength, or frailty. Given that the promoter SNP (rs1800795) has been reported to influence IL-6 levels and health outcomes, we performed a similar association study in the In Chianti population (n=266) and confirmed lack of association. These results suggest that IL-6 gene variation may not be an important factor in the determination of elevated IL-6 levels and related phenotypes found in older women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-352
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Aging
  • Disability
  • Frailty
  • IL-6
  • IL-6 gene variation
  • IL-6 haplotypes
  • Muscle strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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