Association of CRP and IL-6 with lung function in a middle-aged population initially free from self-reported respiratory problems: The Whitehall II study

David Gimeno, George L. Delclos, Jane E. Ferrie, Roberto De Vogli, Marko Elovainio, Michael G. Marmot, Mika Kivimäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


To assess whether two inflammatory markers, C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), and change in their concentrations over 12 years, are associated with lung function (FVC and FEV1) 12 years after baseline. Data are from over 1,500 participants free from self-reported respiratory problems in a large-scale prospective cohort study of white-collar male and female civil servants. CRP and IL-6 measured at baseline (1991-1993) and follow-up (2002-2004) and FVC and FEV1, measured at follow-up. Results adjusted for sociodemographic and anthropometric characteristics, health behaviours, biological factors, chronic conditions and medications, and corrected for short-term variability in CRP and IL-6 concentrations. Higher baseline levels of CRP and IL-6 were strongly associated with lower FVC and FEV1, independent of potential confounders. A 10% increase serum CRP from baseline to follow-up was associated with lower values of FVC and FEV 1 at follow-up, 4.7 and 3.0 ml, respectively. The corresponding values for a 10% increase in IL-6 were 12.6 ml for FVC and 7.3 ml for FEV 1. Systemic low-grade inflammation is associated with only slightly poorer pulmonary function in a population free from self-reported respiratory problems 12 years earlier. These data provide evidence linking inflammation to adverse outcomes beyond cardiovascular disease. Interventions targeting inflammation may prevent lung function impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • Cohort study
  • Epidemiology
  • Inflammation
  • Pulmonary function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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