Plasma cytokine profiles in elderly humans

Mech Ageing Dev. 2003 Apr;124(4):487-93. doi: 10.1016/s0047-6374(03)00025-3.


It is known that as we age, immune dysregulation often occurs, leading to failing health, and increased susceptibility to a number of different diseases. In this study we have investigated plasma cytokine profiles in order to identify immune markers of ageing. Plasma samples were obtained from 138 participants of the Swedish longitudinal NONA study (aged 86, 90 and 94 years) and 18 healthy Swedish volunteers (aged between 32 and 59 years). Our results show significantly increased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (P<0.0001) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (P<0.0001) in the elderly group. The anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 did not alter with age whereas active (naturally processed) transforming growth factor-beta levels were significantly (P<0.0001) increased in the elderly group. No difference was observed between males and females. These data suggest that there are measurable changes in cytokine profiles with ageing with increased levels of potentially harmful molecules, which may contribute to immune alterations and declining health in the elderly population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Solubility
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / blood
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-6
  • TGFB1 protein, human
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Interleukin-10