Interleukin-6 in aging and chronic disease: A magnificent pathway

Marcello Maggio, Jack M. Guralnik, Dan L. Longo, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

381 Scopus citations


The human interleukin IL-6 was originally cloned in 1986. In 1993, William Ershler, in his article "IK-6: A Cytokine for Gerontologists," indicated IL-6 as one of the main signaling pathways modulating the complex relationship between aging and chronic morbidity. Over the last 12 years, our understanding of the role of IL-6 in human physiology and pathology has substantially grown, although some of the questions originally posed by Ershler are still debated. In this review, we will focus on IL-6 structure, IL-6 signaling, and trans signaling pathways, and the role of IL-6 in geriatric syndromes and chronic disease. In the final section of this review, we dissect the critical elements of the IL-6 signaling pathway and point out targets for intervention that are targeted by emerging drugs, some still on the horizon and others already being tested in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-584
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging


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