The - 174G/C polymorphism of IL-6 is useful to screen old subjects at risk for atherosclerosis or to reach successful ageing

Robertina Giacconi, Catia Cipriano, Francesco Albanese, Gianfranco Boccoli, Vittorio Saba, Fabiola Olivieri, Claudio Franceschi, Eugenio Mocchegiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


High levels of IL-6 are coupled with impaired immune efficiency, morbidity and mortality in ageing. Elderly men with GG (C-) genotype in -174 locus of IL-6 promoter are disadvantaged for longevity due to higher IL-6 than CG or CC (C+) carriers. As IL-6 increases in atherosclerosis, the study of the polymorphism of IL-6 may be a useful tool in identifying old subjects at risk for atherosclerosis. Thus, we divided old men into C+ and C- genotypes. Natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α, MTmRNA and zinc ion bioavailability were also evaluated and compared with nonagenarians and old patients affected by carotid stenosis. Old C- patients display, other than elevated IL-6, higher IL-10, TNF-α and MTmRNA coupled with impaired NK cell cytotoxicity and lower zinc ion bioavailability than C+ patients. The same trend is observed in old subjects with C- phenotype. Nonagenarians with C+ genotype show less inflammation, low MTmRNA, satisfactory NK cell cytotoxicity and good zinc bioavailability than long-living individuals with C- genotype. A higher degree of bilateral carotid stenosis is observed in C- patients than in C+ patients (88 vs 52%). Therefore, C- genotype is coupled with chronic inflammation, impaired immune efficiency, low zinc ion bioavailability and high MTmRNA. As such, C- genotype is a risk factor for the appearance of severe atherosclerosis. Thus, the polymorphism of IL-6, together with the analysis of zinc turnover and immune parameters, is of a great clinical relevance in order to genetically identify old subjects at risk in developing severe atherosclerosis and, at the same time, to predict subjects predestined to successful ageing. As a consequence, more convenient therapies may be prepared for a complete recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-628
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Carotid stenosis
  • Cytokines
  • IL-6 polymorphism
  • Metallothioneins
  • Natural killer cell activity
  • Successful ageing
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Medicine(all)

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