Ageing and the immune system – a dangerous liaison
Peter Doherty Institute
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The immune system has been shown to be significantly impacted during the ageing process. There is the expansion of senescent cells from both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system as well as shortening of telomeres. As the host ages there is an increase in production of inflammatory cytokines that has been termed 'inflammaging'.
The drivers of this inflammatory process have been shown to be due to changes in the host microbiome leading to alterations in gut integrity and release of microbial translocation products into the systemic circulation. The results of these immune changes have been linked to the development of noncommunicable diseases especially cardiovascular disease and alterations in vaccine responses in older individuals. There are now new classes of therapies known as senolytics that can be used to improve the functional declines of ageing.