Immunosenescence: A product of the environment?

Dong Ming Su, Danielle Aw, Donald B. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

The major function of the immune system is to provide protection against pathogens, in order to prevent infections and potential death. However, with increasing age the immune system undergoes alterations culminating in a progressive deterioration in the ability to respond to infection and vaccination. The precise mechanisms associated with immunosenescence have not been fully elucidated although extensive analyses have suggested that intrinsic defects within immune cells are potentially involved. Despite the stromal niche playing a critical role in the development and activation of immune cells, the role of extrinsic factors within the microenvironment in immunosenescence is less well understood. Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that the aged microenvironment contributes significantly to the age-associated decline of immune function and additionally may offer a potential target for rejuvenating the immune system. Indeed, rejuvenation strategies which have targeted the thymic stromal microenvironment have proved to be successful in recovering thymic function in the aged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-503
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Immunology
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2013

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