A gender--dependent genetic predisposition to produce high levels of IL-6 is detrimental for longevity

Eur J Immunol. 2001 Aug;31(8):2357-61. doi: 10.1002/1521-4141(200108)31:8<2357::aid-immu2357>3.0.co;2-x.


Current literature indicates that elevated IL-6 serum levels are associated with diseases, disability and mortality in the elderly. In this paper, we studied the IL-6 promoter genetic variability at -174 C/G locus and its effect on IL-6 serum levels in a total of 700 people from 60 to 110 years of age, including 323 centenarians. We found that the proportion of homozygotes for the G allele at -174 locus decreases in centenarian males, but not in centenarian females. Moreover, we found that, only among males, homozygotes for the G allele at -174 locus have higher IL-6 serum levels in comparison with carriers of the C allele. On the whole, our data suggest that those individuals who are genetically predisposed to produce high levels of IL-6 during aging, i.e. -174 locus GG homozygous men, are disadvantaged for longevity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics*
  • Life Expectancy
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Longevity / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Sex Characteristics*


  • Interleukin-6