Interleukin 6 plasma concentration associates with cognitive decline: The Northern Manhattan study

Alexis Lizarraga, Clinton B Wright, Yeseon Park Moon, Tatjana Rundek, Leroy Rabbani, Myunghee C. Paik, Ralph L. Sacco, Mitchell S.V. Elkind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is an inflammatory cytokine that has been associated with vascular disease and cognitive impairment, but few studies have examined these relationships in population-based studies that include Hispanic and Black people who often have a greater prevalence of vascular risk factors and are at an elevated risk of dementia than Whites. We examined relative elevations of plasma IL-6 concentrations in relation to cognitive decline in a stroke-free racially/ethnically diverse community-based sample from Northern Manhattan. Methods: We used mixed effects models to measure the effect of IL-6 on change in performance on the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m) measured annually in our cohort, adjusting for sociodemographic and vascular risk factors. Results: There were 1,224 participants with IL-6 levels (median 1.5 pg/ml, interquartile range 0.83-2.57 pg/ml) and TICS-m data available (mean = 31.6 points, SD 6.5). The mean age was 71 (SD 9.3; 64% women, 59% Hispanic, 19% Black, 19% White) with 3,406 person-years and a median 3.0 years of follow-up (interquartile range 1.1-4.0 years). Participants with IL-6 levels above the median showed greater cognitive decline on the TICS-m compared to those with levels below the median, adjusting for sociodemographic and vascular factors (β = -0.17 points/year, p = 0.02). Decline on the TICS-m among participants with IL-6 above the median differed by age (p for interaction <0.001). There was no interaction by race/ethnicity, vascular risk factors, C-reactive protein, apolipoprotein ε4 allele status, or the metabolic syndrome among nondiabetics. Conclusions: IL-6 associated with cognitive decline among older participants in this racially/ethnically diverse sample independent of other vascular risk factors and C-reactive protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-259
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • Cognitive decline
  • Cohort studies
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin 6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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