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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2008 Nov;56(11):2045-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.01994.x.

Exercise training and plasma C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 in elderly people.

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  • 1Section on Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.



To determine the effects of a long-term exercise intervention on two prominent biomarkers of inflammation (C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6)) in elderly men and women.


Single-blind, randomized, controlled trial: The Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Trial.


The Cooper Institute, Dallas, Texas; Stanford University, Stanford, California; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Four hundred twenty-four elderly (aged 70-89), nondisabled, community-dwelling men and women at risk for physical disability.


A 12-month moderate-intensity physical activity (PA) intervention and a successful aging (SA) health education intervention.


CRP and IL-6.


After adjustment for baseline IL-6, sex, clinic site, diabetes mellitus, treatment group, visit, and group-by-visit interaction, the PA intervention resulted in a lower (P=.02) IL-6 concentration than the SA intervention. Adjusted mean IL-6 at month 12 was 8.5% (0.21 pg/mL) higher in the SA than the PA group. There were no significant differences in CRP between the groups at 12 months (P=.09). Marginally significant interaction effects of the PA intervention according to baseline functional status (P=.05) and IL-6 (above vs below the median; P=.06) were observed. There was a greater effect of the PA intervention on participants with lower functional status and those with a higher baseline IL-6.


Greater PA results in lower systemic concentrations of IL-6 in elderly individuals, and this benefit is most pronounced in individuals at the greatest risk for disability and subsequent loss of independence.

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