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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1999 Jan;47(1):6-11.

Association of interleukin-6 and other biologic variables with depression in older people living in the community.

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Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.



The prevalence of depression increases with age, as does the prevalence of higher levels of the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6). This analysis was performed to determine the association between increased levels of this cytokine and depression in a population-based sample.


Cross-sectional cohort study.


Rural and urban counties in North Carolina.


Community-dwelling older people.


The association between IL-6 and other biologic variables with self-report depression was examined in 1686 persons aged 70 years and older in the third in-person survey wave (1991) of the Duke Established Population for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (EPESE). Bivariate associations were established by the Spearman correlation, adjusted for age. A stepwise linear logistic regression model was used to derive a final model to assess multivariable effects on CES-D scores.


Depression was correlated with IL-6 (P = .011), D-Dimer (P = .017), alpha-1-globulin (P = .023), alpha-2-globulin (P = .002), and beta globulin (P = .012). After controlling for age, race, and gender, IL-6 levels remained the only biologic variable significantly associated with depression (P = .035).


These data suggest that the inflammatory marker, IL-6, is associated with depression in older people in this cross-sectional study. These results are compatible with the hypothesis of cytokine (IL-6) stimulation in geriatric depression as part of an overall immunoendocrine dysregulation.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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