Inflammatory markers and cardiovascular health in older adults

Cardiovasc Res. 2005 May 1;66(2):265-75. doi: 10.1016/j.cardiores.2004.12.026. Epub 2005 Jan 28.


In the past decade inflammatory markers have emerged as strong independent risk indicators for cardiovascular disease. Even though adults over the age of 65 experience a high proportion of such events, most epidemiologic data are from middle-aged populations. In this review we examine the role that inflammatory markers play in the prediction of incident cardiovascular disease specifically in older adults. In studies of adults < 65 years, IL-6, TNFalpha and IL-10 levels have been shown to predict cardiovascular outcomes. The data on C-reactive protein are inconsistent, but CRP levels appear to be less useful in old-age than in middle-age. Fibrinogen levels predict mortality but in a non-specific manner. In the elderly inflammatory markers are non-specific measures of health and predict both disability and mortality even in the absence of clinical cardiovascular disease. Thus it is possible that, in older age-groups, interventions designed to prevent cardiovascular disease through the modulation of inflammation would also be helpful in reducing disability and mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / immunology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • C-Reactive Protein