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J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2017 Sep 1;18(9):810.e1-810.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2017.05.018. Epub 2017 Jul 1.

Intestinal Permeability Biomarker Zonulin is Elevated in Healthy Aging.

Author information

1
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
2
Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
3
Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, Institute on Aging, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
4
Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Electronic address: mraizada@ufl.edu.
5
Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, Institute on Aging, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Electronic address: tbuford@ufl.edu.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Increased gut permeability ("leaky gut") has been proposed as a potential contributor to age-related inflammation and gut dysbiosis. However, information on the relationship between a leaky gut and inflammation and physical frailty during aging are limited.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the hypothesis that an aging-associated leaky gut is linked to the age-related inflammation and frailty.

METHODS:

Two cohorts of healthy adults were studied: young (18-30 years old, n = 19) and older (≥70 years old, n = 18). Serum concentrations of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6, zonulin (a marker for leaky gut), and high-mobility group box protein (HMGB1, a nuclear protein triggering inflammation) were measured. Correlations of serum levels of zonulin and HMGB1 with strength of plantar flexor muscles and number of steps taken per day were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Serum concentration of zonulin and HMGB1 were 22% (P = .005) and 16% (P = .010) higher in the older versus young adults. Serum zonulin was positively associated with concentrations of TNF-α (r = 0.357, P = .032) and IL-6 (r = 0.345, P = .043). Importantly, both zonulin and HMGB1 were negatively correlated with skeletal muscle strength (zonulin: r = -0.332, P = .048; HMGB1: r = -0.383, P = .023), and habitual physical activity (zonulin: r = -0.410, P = .016; HMGB1: r = -0.483, P = .004).

CONCLUSIONS:

Serum zonulin was associated with both systemic inflammation and 2 key indices of physical frailty. These data suggest that a leaky gut may play a critical role in the development of age-related inflammation and frailty.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; inflammation; leaky gut; physical frailty; zonulin

PMID:
28676292
PMCID:
PMC5581307
DOI:
10.1016/j.jamda.2017.05.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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