Interleukin 6 variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) gene polymorphism in centenarians

Ann Hum Genet. 2007 Nov;71(Pt 6):843-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.2007.00368.x. Epub 2007 May 15.


Recent population-based studies identified the magnitude of interleukin 6 (IL6) serum levels as a marker for functional disability, and a predictor of disability and mortality among the elderly. We investigated whether there was evidence in Southern Italy of an association between the IL6 gene variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) polymorphism and extreme longevity, and tested for the possible interaction of apolipoprotein E (APOE) alleles with the IL6 VNTR alleles. Four alleles coding for variants of four different lengths have been identified: allele A [760 base pairs (bp)], allele B (680 bp), allele C (640 bp), and allele D (610 bp). IL6 VNTR and APOE allele and genotype frequencies were studied in a total of 61 centenarians and 94 middle-aged subjects from Southern Italy. The IL6 VNTR allele B was overrepresented in the younger control group compared with centenarians (odds ratio: 0.56, 95% confidence interval: 0.35-0.88, Bonferroni p-value < 0.05). No interactions between IL6 VNTR alleles and APOE alleles on the odds ratios to reach extreme longevity were evaluated for the smallest number of subjects in centenarians and younger controls. Our findings suggested that the presence of the IL6 VNTR allele B could be detrimental for reaching extreme longevity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics*
  • Italy
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Longevity / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minisatellite Repeats*
  • Odds Ratio


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6