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Mech Ageing Dev. 2000 Dec 20;121(1-3):37-46.

Chemokines, sTNF-Rs and sCD30 serum levels in healthy aged people and centenarians.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Oncological Sciences, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.


Several lines of evidence point to a profound remodelling of the cytokine network in healthy elderly subjects, with decreased type-1 cytokine production (IL 2) and a shift to type 0 and 2. We have also observed an increase of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, TNF-alpha) in vitro, and an increase of circulating stem cell factor in vivo. In this setting, we studied changes of chemokines (MCP-1 and RANTES) with aging, as well as other molecules, namely, sTNF-RI and sTNF-RII, and the soluble form of the CD30 molecule (sCD30), involved in the pro- and antiinflammatory cytokine balance. The subjects enrolled in the study belonged to three different selected healthy groups of young, aged and centenarians. The presence of rheumatoid factor (RF) and antinuclear antibodies (ANA) was simultaneously assessed. The results show that MCP-1 serum levels were higher in the healthy aged and lowest in the young, while RANTES increased exclusively in centenarians. Only centenarians had autoantibodies (ANA and RF). sTNF-RI and sTNF-RII were significantly elevated in healthy old subjects compared to the young, and even higher in selected centenarians compared to the other age groups. sCD30 serum levels were significantly raised in centenarians compared to the young, despite absence of circulating CD30+ cells in the peripheral blood of the whole study population. No relationship among serum values of these different members of the TNF-R family was found, despite a strong correlation for sTNF-RI and sTNF-RII in all groups. We hypothesize that the increased chemokine levels in aged people, and raised sCD30 levels in centenarians, may reflect a general shift towards type 0/2 cytokines in normal aging, which may be responsible, at least in part, for the appearance of circulating autoantibodies without definite clinical consequences at advanced age.

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