TNF-alpha, leptin, and lymphocyte function in human aging

H. Bruunsgaard, Agnes Nadelmann Pedersen, M. Schroll, P. Skinhøj, B. K. Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Aging is associated with increased inflammatory activity and concomitant decreased T cell mediated immune responses. Leptin may provide a link between inflammation and T cell function in aging. The aim of the study was to investigate if plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha were associated with leptin, circulating interleukin-2 receptors (sIL-2R), and phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) induced IL-2 production in whole blood in elderly humans. Circulating levels of TNF-alpha and sIL-2R were higher in elderly humans (N=42) compared to a young control group (N=37) whereas there was no difference with regard to IL-2 production. Furthermore, there were no age-related differences in serum levels of leptin, However, women had higher levels than men. In the elderly people, serum levels of leptin were correlated with TNF-alpha in univariate regression analysis and in a multiple linear regression analysis adjusting for the effect of gender and body mass index. Furthermore, TNF-alpha, but not leptin, was positively correlated to sIL-2R and negatively correlated to IL-2 production. In conclusion, increased plasma levels of TNF-alpha in aging is associated with poor IL-2 production ex vivo and lymphocyte activation in vivo. These associations do not seem to involve leptin.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number22
Pages (from-to)2721-2731
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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