Insulin-like growth factor I and interleukin-6 contribute synergistically to disability and mortality in older women

Anne R. Cappola, Qian Li Xue, Luigi Ferrucci, Jack M. Guralnik, Stefano Volpato, Linda P. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

232 Scopus citations


The physiology of age-related functional decline is poorly understood, but may involve hormones and inflammation. We hypothesized that older women with both low IGF-I and high IL-6 levels are at high risk for disability and death. We assessed walking speed and disability in 718 women enrolled in the Women's Health and Aging Study I, a 3-yr cohort study with 5-yr mortality follow-up. Women with IGF-I levels in the lowest quartile and IL-6 levels in the highest quartile had significantly greater limitation in walking and disability in mobility tasks and instrumental activities of daily living than those with neither risk factor (adjusted odds ratios, 10.77, 5.14, and 3.66). Women with both risk factors were at greater risk for death (adjusted relative risk, 2.10) as well as incident walking limitation, mobility disability, and disability in activities of daily living compared with those with high IGF-I and low IL-6 levels. The combination of low IGF-I and high IL-6 levels confers a high risk for progressive disability and death in older women, suggesting an aggregate effect of dysregulation in endocrine and immune systems. The joint effects of IGF-I and IL-6 may be important targets for treatments to prevent or minimize disability associated with aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2019-2025
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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