Effects of aging and menopause on serum interleukin-6 levels and peripheral blood mononuclear cell cytokine production in healthy nonobese women

Oh Yoen Kim, Jey Sook Chae, Jean Kyung Paik, Hee Sun Seo, Yangsoo Jang, Jean Marc Cavaillon, Jong Ho Lee

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75 Citations (Scopus)


Inappropriate interleukin-6 production is thought to play a role in the development of several age-related conditions including atherosclerosis. This study aimed to determine whether aging affects circulating interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels. Healthy, nonobese women (n=208, 44.5±0.70 years, 22.4±0.17 kg/m 2) were categorized into four age groups (22-31, 32-41, 42-51, and 52-63 years; cross-sectional study). Cytokine levels in serum and those produced from peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) were measured. The oldest group had the highest circulating levels of IL-6 and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) and higher PBMC production of IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1β). Additionally, significant interactions between age and menopause were found for serum IL-6 (P=0.024), and TNF-α (P=0.011) and IL-1β (P<0.001) produced from PBMCs. Serum IL-6 levels positively correlated with age, waist-hip ratio (WHR), systolic blood pressure, circulating levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, and ox-LDL, and urinary 8-epi-prostaglandin F 2α. Multiple stepwise regression models identified the following factors for contributing to serum IL-6 levels: serum IL-1β, menopause status, WHR, and serum TNF-α in mode I (R 2=0.302); serum IL-1β, age, serum TNF-α, and WHR (β=0.197; P=0.006) in model II (R 2=0.283). Sub-analysis was performed according to menopausal status. Serum IL-6 levels were positively associated with levels of IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-1β in PBMC supernatants (unstimulated) from postmenopausal women, whereas these were negatively associated in premenopausal women. In conclusion, circulating IL-6 levels may be interactively influenced by age and menopause. Additionally, estrogen deprivation after menopause may enhance PBMC cytokine production in postmenopausal women, resulting in increased IL-6 levels which are closely related to oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-425
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank the research volunteers who participated in the studies described in this report. This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (M10642120002-06N4212-00210, 2010-0015017, 2010-0000317, and 2010-0011003), Republic of Korea. All the authors were involved in the development of the study protocol and the experimental design.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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