, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 358-365
Date: 27 Oct 2012

The Role of Interleukin-6 in Certain Age-Related Diseases

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Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine with a wide range of functions. Perhaps the most important physiologically is its role as a mediator of the acute phase inflammatory response. Normally, there is little measurable IL-6 in the circulation, but levels increase abruptly to nanogram amounts during an inflammatory process. During aging, it has been proposed that the tight regulation of IL-6 gene expression becomes less effective and levels are measurable even when there is no evidence for inflammation. Several investigators have identified this cytokine as being involved in the pathogenesis of various disease processes and we have suggested that certain age-associated diseases are directly related. Among these are late-life lymphoma and myeloma, osteoporosis and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.