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Associations between inflammatory and neurological markers with quality of life and well-being in older adults

Objectives: Stressful experiences, poor self-rated health, and negative emotional states have been implicated with higher levels of inflammatory markers and lower levels of neurotrophic factors in some healthy adults and clinical populations, but these relationships are unclear in the elderly. This study aimed to identify the associations between systemic inflammatory and neurological markers with well-being and health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) in independently living elderly people. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting and participants: A total of 268 men and women aged ≥65 years living independently in retirement communities in Melbourne, Australia. Measures: Questionnaires were used to assess HR-QoL [Short Form (SF)-36 version 2] and well-being (Personal Wellbeing Index). Serum inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-4, IL-6, IL-1β, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)] were standardised to Z-scores and used to calculate pro- and anti-inflammatory composite score and an overall composite inflammatory index. Plasma levels of the neurological markers amyloid β (1-40) and amyloid β (1-42), brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), were also assessed. Results: No significant associations were found between any inflammatory or neurological marker with HR-OoL or well-being, with the exception that lower perceptions of the HR-QoL vitality subscale were associated with higher levels of hs-CRP [unstandardized beta-coefficient (β): −1.50; 95% CI: −2.53, −0.46; P = 0.004] and Z-scores in the pro-inflammatory composite score (β = −2.06; 95% CI: −3.49, −0.62; P = 0.005). Conclusions/implications: In elderly people residing in independent living retirement communities, there was no consistent evidence indicating that circulating inflammatory or neurological markers were associated with the key physical or mental HR-QoL domains or overall well-being. This suggests that these biomarkers may not be effective predictors in relatively healthy communities, and may be more beneficial in frail or clinical populations. Clinical Trials registry: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12613001161718).



Experimental gerontology



Article number



1 - 7




Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2019, Elsevier Inc.