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Keywords:

  • ecological immunology;
  • innate immunity;
  • cytokines;
  • cardiovascular disease

Abstract

Inflammation is a central part of innate immunity, but its role in anti-pathogen defenses has been overshadowed by recent interest in the contribution of inflammation to a wide range of chronic degenerative diseases. Current research on chronic inflammation is conducted primarily in affluent populations with low levels of infectious disease; comparative research in different ecological settings is needed to advance understandings of the causes and consequences of variation in the regulation of inflammation. This article investigates the levels and predictors of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-10 (IL-10)—two cytokines important to the regulation of inflammation—in a large, population-based study in the Philippines. Concentrations of IL-6 and IL-10 were determined in N = 1,569 healthy young adults (20–22 years) in Metro Cebu, Philippines. IL-6 and IL-10 concentrations were positively correlated, and body mass index and symptoms of infectious disease were both associated with higher concentrations of IL-6 and IL-10. Median concentrations of IL-6 (1.0 pg/mL) and IL-10 (7.56 pg/mL) were substantially lower and higher, respectively, than levels reported for other populations based on a systematic review of prior research. This study contributes to a growing body of research in human ecological immunology, and suggests that there may be substantial population differences in the regulation of inflammation that has implications for the association between inflammation and disease. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.