Nutraceutical strategy in aging: targeting heat shock protein and inflammatory profile through understanding interleukin-6 polymorphism

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Nov;1119:196-202. doi: 10.1196/annals.1404.011.


The aging process is paralleled by two- to fourfold increases in plasma/serum levels of inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines and acute-phase proteins. In this study we assessed the inflammatory profile and polymorphism of healthy elderly subjects and the influence of a nutraceutical supplement. Forty elderly, generally healthy subjects were recruited, divided into two matched groups, and given either a fermented papaya preparation 9 g/day by mouth or the same amount of placebo. Treatments were carried out in a cross-over manner with a 3-month supplementation period followed by a 6-week washout period between treatments. Ten healthy young subjects served as controls. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) promoter -174 G/C polymorphism genotype was determined together with blood levels for redox status, proinflammatory cytokines, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, and serum 70 kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) concentrations. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha and IL-6 were higher in elderly subjects (P < 0.05 versus young controls). The concentration of Hsp70 inversely correlated with markers of inflammation in -174 G/C-negative subjects (r = 0.62, P < 0.05). Nutraceutical intervention normalized the inflammatory parameters (P < 0.05) with a rise of Hsp70 (P < 0.05). This suggests that healthy elderly individuals may have a proinflammatory profile playing as a downregulating factor for inducible Hsp70, particularly if -174 G/C-negative. A nutraceutical intervention seems able to beneficially modulate such a phenomenon.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / blood*
  • Aging / drug effects
  • Aging / genetics*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • C-Reactive Protein / genetics
  • Carica* / chemistry
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / blood
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics*
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Preparations / chemistry
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Random Allocation
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interleukin-6
  • Plant Preparations
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • C-Reactive Protein