Background and aims: Human longevity seems to be directly correlated with optimal functioning of the immune system, suggesting that some genetic determinants of longevity reside in those polymorphisms for the immune system genes which regulate immune-inflammatory responses, in particular cytokine gene polymorphisms. The frequency of -174C single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the promoter region of the interleukin(IL)-6 gene is increased in Italian male centenarians. Moreover, the frequency of -1082G SNP at the 5′ flanking region of the IL-10 gene coding sequence is increased among male centenarians, and that of +874A SNP at the interferon (IFN)-γ gene was found more frequently in female centenarians. These findings indicate that different alleles at different cytokine gene codings for pro- (IL-6, IFN-γ) or anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines may affect the individual life-span expectancy, influencing the type and intensity of immune-inflammatory responses against environmental stressors.Methods: In the present study, we analyzed these IL-6, IL-10 and IFN-γ gene polymorphisms in 112 (36 male, 76 female) centenarians from the island of Sardinia, whose population shows a genetic background quite different from that of mainland Italy, as well as in 137 sixty-year-old controls from the same geographic area. Results: No significant differences were observed on analyzing IL-6, IL-10 and IFN-γ polymorphism frequencies among centenarians and controls, either on the whole and when the data were analyzed according to gender.Conclusions: These data indicate that gene polymorphisms of cytokines playing a major regulatory role in the inflammatory response do not affect life expectancy in the Sardinian population. Thus, cytokine/longevity associations have a population-specific component, being affected by the population-specific gene pool as well as by gene-environment interactions, behaving as survival rather than longevity genes.
- Geriatrics and Gerontology