Insulin-like growth factor-1 and interleukin 6 predict sarcopenia in very old community-living men and women: the Framingham Heart Study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Sep;51(9):1237-43. doi: 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2003.51407.x.


Objectives: To assess the prognostic role of the inflammatory cytokine, interleukin 6 (IL-6), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in predicting 2-year changes in fat-free mass (FFM) while controlling for potential confounders.

Design: Population-based cohort, the Framingham Heart Study, examined in 1992-93 and 1994-95.

Setting: General community.

Participants: Two hundred thirty-two men and 326 women aged 72 to 92.

Measurements: IGF-1 was measured using radio-immunoassay and cellular IL-6 production using non-cross-reacting radioimmunoassays. FFM was estimated using population-specific equations for predicting FFM from bioelectrical impedance analysis developed separately for men and women.

Results: Higher IGF-1 predicted smaller loss of FFM in men than lower IGF-1 did (P=.002), after adjusting for age, baseline FFM, fat mass, and 2-year weight changes, whereas cellular IL-6 was a significant predictor of sarcopenia in women (P=.02). Weight change was a strong determinant of change in FFM in both sexes (P<.0001).

Conclusion: Predictors of sarcopenia include body composition characteristics that are common to men and women and sex-specific metabolic predictors. Sarcopenia appears to reflect a withdrawal of anabolic stimuli, such as growth hormone, in men but an increase in catabolic stimuli, such as cellular IL-6, in women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Age Factors
  • Aged*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Composition* / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electric Impedance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Interleukin-6
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I