Drugs & Aging

, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 358–365 | Cite as

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

  • William B. Ershier
  • Wen H. Sun
  • Neil Binkley
Clinical Pharmacology


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.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • William B. Ershier
    • 1
  • Wen H. Sun
    • 1
  • Neil Binkley
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, The Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)The William S. Middleton Veterans Hospital, University of Wisconsin-MadisonWisconsinUSA

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