The effects of age and gender on plasma levels of 63 cytokines

J Immunol Methods. 2015 Oct:425:58-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2015.06.009. Epub 2015 Jun 14.


Cytokines play important roles as regulators of cell functions, and over the last decades a number of cytokine assays have been developed. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of age and gender on a large number of cytokines. Plasma samples were collected from 33 healthy blood donors. The samples were analyzed using a multiplex proximity extension assay (PEA) allowing simultaneous measurement of 92 cytokines and four technical controls. Biomarkers with less than 80% quantitative results were excluded leaving 63 cytokines that were analyzed for the effects of gender and age. The plasma level of three of the investigated biomarkers (DNER, MCP-4 and MMP-10) were found to be significantly different for the two genders (adjusted p-value<0.05), and 15 of the biomarkers (CCL11, CCL25, CDCP1, CSF-1, CXCL11, CXCL9, FGF-23, Flt3L, HGF, IL-10RB, MCP-3, MCP-4, MMP-10, OPG, VEGF-A) were significantly associated with age. This study reveals the effects of age and gender on a large number of cytokine assays. CXCL5 and TNFB were significantly higher in females, while the other markers with significant gender-dependent differences were higher in males. For the markers that were significantly associated with age, only CXCL6 was found to decrease with age, while the other biomarkers increased with age.

Keywords: Age; Cytokine; Gender; Human; Plasma; Proximity extension assay (PEA).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasma / immunology*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • FGF23 protein, human
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23