Associations of elevated interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein levels with mortality in the elderly

Tamara B. Harris, Luigi Ferrucci, Russell P. Tracy, M. Chiara Corti, Sholom Wacholder, Walter H. Ettinger, Harley Heimovitz, Harvey J. Cohen, Robert Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1192 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To investigate whether interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein levels predict all-cause and cause-specific mortality in a population-based sample of nondisabled older people. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A sample of 1,293 healthy, nondisabled participants in the Iowa 65+ Rural Health Study was followed prospectively for a mean of 4.6 years. Plasma interleukin-6 and C- reactive protein levels were measured in specimens obtained from 1987 to 1989. RESULTS: Higher interleukin-6 levels were associated with a twofold greater risk of death [relative risk (RR) for the highest quartile (≥3.19 pg/mL) compared with the lowest quartile of 1.9 [95% confidence interval, CI, 1.2 to 3.1]). Higher C-reactive protein levels (≥ 2.78 mg/L) were also associated with increased risk (RR = 1.6; CI, 1.0 to 2.6). Subjects with elevation of both interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein levels were 2.6 times more likely (CI, 1.6 to 4.3) to die during follow-up than those with low levels of both measurements. Similar results were found for cardiovascular and noncardiovascular causes of death, as well as when subjects were stratified by sex, smoking status, and prior cardiovascular disease, and for both early (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-512
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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