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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Nov;1119:196-202.

Nutraceutical strategy in aging: targeting heat shock protein and inflammatory profile through understanding interleukin-6 polymorphism.

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G.A.I.A Age-Management Foundation, Pavia, Italy.


The aging process is paralleled by two- to fourfold increases in plasma/serum levels of inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines and acute-phase proteins. In this study we assessed the inflammatory profile and polymorphism of healthy elderly subjects and the influence of a nutraceutical supplement. Forty elderly, generally healthy subjects were recruited, divided into two matched groups, and given either a fermented papaya preparation 9 g/day by mouth or the same amount of placebo. Treatments were carried out in a cross-over manner with a 3-month supplementation period followed by a 6-week washout period between treatments. Ten healthy young subjects served as controls. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) promoter -174 G/C polymorphism genotype was determined together with blood levels for redox status, proinflammatory cytokines, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, and serum 70 kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) concentrations. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha and IL-6 were higher in elderly subjects (P < 0.05 versus young controls). The concentration of Hsp70 inversely correlated with markers of inflammation in -174 G/C-negative subjects (r = 0.62, P < 0.05). Nutraceutical intervention normalized the inflammatory parameters (P < 0.05) with a rise of Hsp70 (P < 0.05). This suggests that healthy elderly individuals may have a proinflammatory profile playing as a downregulating factor for inducible Hsp70, particularly if -174 G/C-negative. A nutraceutical intervention seems able to beneficially modulate such a phenomenon.

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