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Rejuvenation Res. 2009 Dec;12(6):403-10. doi: 10.1089/rej.2009.0883.

Measuring systemic inflammatory regulation in older adults: evidence and utility.

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Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205-2179, USA.


Aging is frequently accompanied by a proinflammatory state with adverse health consequences. This state is commonly assessed by markers in serum, either in isolation or ad hoc combination. We sought, alternatively, to develop scores summarizing multiple markers in accordance with biology on inflammatory regulation and evaluate their value added for discriminating functional outcomes in older adults. Data came from InCHIANTI (Invecchiare in Chianti; Aging in the Chianti Area) study participants age 65 years and older. Serum concentrations of seven inflammatory biomediators were subjected to latent variable analysis implementing a biological model of counterbalancing up- and down-regulation processes. Resulting process constructs were approximated by principal component scores; these, and individual markers, were evaluated as predictors of mobility impairment and frailty status in regression analyses, adjusting for key confounders. The biomediators' interrelationships were well predicted by the hypothesized biology. The up-regulation score was independently associated with worsened mobility functioning and frailty risk. For mobility, the association was stronger than, persisted independently of, and accounted for association with each biomediator. The down regulation score was associated with frailty outcomes. We conclude that systemic inflammation is relevant to the process that leads to functional loss in older persons and can be validly measured through biologically informed summary of inflammatory markers.

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