The effects of the time of the day and breakfast on the outcome of interleukin-6 and its soluble receptor in serum were studied on 22 subjectively healthy volunteers. We collected blood specimens at 8.00 a.m. after an overnight fast, at 9.30 a.m. after usual breakfast, and at 11.30 a.m. A second group of volunteers (n = 20) was studied during the evening. We observed a significant decrease in the concentration of interleukin-6 after breakfast. This suggests that for assay of this analyte it is preferable to collect specimens after overnight fast. No changes were observed in the concentrations of interleukin-6 soluble receptor. Weak, but significant negative correlations were found between the age of the volunteers and the concentrations of interleukin-6 soluble receptor and between age and the ratio interleukin-6 soluble receptor/interleukin-6. The concentrations of interleukin-6 were positively and significantly correlated with age.
The within-subject variablity was 30 % for interleukin-6,13% for its receptor, and 33.1% for the ratio interleukin-6 soluble receptor/interleukin-6. The between-subject variability was 43.7 % for interleukin-6, 22.2% for its receptor, and 60.2 % for the ratio interleukin-6 soluble receptor/interleukin-6. The indices of individuality (ratio within-subject variability/between-subject variability) were calculated and found to be 0.69, 0.60, and 0.55 for interleukin-6, its soluble receptor, and the ratio interleukin-6 soluble receptor/interleukin-6, respectively. The implications of these indices with the use of health-related reference values is discussed.
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