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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2000 Nov;48(11):1404-7.

The prognostic value of serum albumin in healthy older persons with low and high serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels.

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Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90095-1687, USA.



We sought to determine the prognostic value of serum albumin for 4-year mortality among high-functioning persons who did or did not have evidence of inflammation as indicated by high interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels.


We used a case-cohort design of healthy, nondisabled older persons who had serum albumin and plasma IL-6 measured at baseline. Crude and multiply adjusted (for sociodemographics and chronic diseases) proportional hazards models were used to identify the effect of baseline levels of serum albumin level on 4-year mortality among those with higher and lower levels of IL-6.


Among subjects without evidence of IL-6-mediated inflammation (IL-6 < 3.20 pg/mL), having a lower (< or = 4.4 g/dL) albumin level was associated with a multiply adjusted relative risk of 2.1 for 4-year mortality compared with those with higher albumin. In the presence of inflammation (IL-6 > or = 3.20 pg/mL), higher and lower serum albumin levels had similar risks (adjusted relative risks 4.0 and 3.8, respectively) compared with the referent group (higher albumin and low IL-6).


High serum albumin has a protective effect in healthy older persons who do not have evidence of cytokine-mediated inflammation. This protective effect is not conferred in presence of inflammation. The mechanisms by which inflammation eliminates the protective effect of high albumin remain to be determined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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