Interleukin-1 plays a role in normal homeostasis and in the inflammatory response which is deemed to be responsible for the development of major chronic diseases that are highly prevalent in the elderly. Aim of this study is to evaluate the factors influencing the serum levels of Interleukin-1 beta, in a large and representative population. Data were from the InCHIANTI project, a study of factors contributing to the decline of mobility in late life, which sampled people living in two sites in the surroundings of Florence. Blood samples were obtained from 1,292 participants and frozen aliquots were stored at -80 degrees C. The serum levels of several cytokines were measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay using an ultrasensitive commercial kit. Interleukin-1 beta serum levels were associated with congestive heart failure (p > 0.001) and angina (p = 0.02), with Ca2+ serum levels (p = 0.02), and with a history of dyslipidemia (p = 0.05). We found no association between serum IL-1beta level and age, sex, consumption of cardioactive drugs and serum levels of IL-1Ra, IL-6, sIL-6R, IL-10 and TNF-alpha. Our data could lend support to the hypothesis that IL-1beta is mainly involved in the functional alterations of cardiomyocytes under conditions marked by mononuclear cell infiltration and by downregulation of calcium.