Associations of the - 174 G/C interleukin-6 gene promoter polymorphism with serum interleukin 6 and mortality in the elderly

Giovanni Ravaglia, Paola Forti, Fabiola Maioli, Martina Chiappelli, Paolo Dolzani, Mabel Martelli, Marisa Bianchin, Erminia Mariani, Luigi Bolondi, Federico Licastro

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Serum interleukin-6 (sIL6) is an acknowledged predictor of all-cause mortality in older age. A common G/C polymorphism has been identified at position - 174 of the IL6 gene promoter (IL6-174G > C), but its associations with sIL6 and mortality are still unclear. Data from a population-based elderly cohort (n = 824) were used to study the associations of baseline sIL6 with the IL6-174 C-allele (C+) carrier status and all-cause mortality at 4 years, in the presence and absence of preexisting major diseases (PMD). Analyses were adjusted for socio-demographic factors and body-mass-index. Three-hundred-eighty-eight participants (47.1%) had PMD. Compared to the bottom sIL6 quartile, mortality increased both in presence [Hazard Ratio (HR) = 3.04; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.48-6.25] and absence of PMD [HR = 3.91; 95%CI: 1.42-10.72] for the third higher sIL6 quartile, but only in presence of PMD for the top sIL6 quartile [HR = 2.30; 95%CI: 1.09-4.83]. In absence of PMD, C+ carrier status did not affect both sIL6 and mortality. In presence of PMD, C+ carrier status was associated with increased baseline sIL6 [odds ratio 2.01; 95%CI: 1.25-3.22, for all sIL6 quartiles above the bottom] but not with increased mortality risk. A survival advantage was even found for C+ carriers with PMD and sIL6 in the top quartile [HR = 0.31, 95%CI: 0.13-0.76]. In conclusion, although associated with increased sIL6 levels in presence of major diseases, the IL6-174 C-allele does not seem to have direct detrimental effects on survival in older age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-423
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • Comorbidity
  • Elderly
  • Inflammatory genetic polymorphism
  • Interleukin 6
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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