Inefficient Immune Worsens with Age
If immunity is not managed well over the course of one's lifetime then it is prone to being too inflammatory and too inefficient during older age - actually working against survival.
Study Title:Immunity and aging: the enemy within?
Functional analyses of changes in the immune response indicate that aging is associated with a decline of adaptive immunity whereas innate immunity is ramped up. Gene expression studies also support age-dependent changes in immunity. Studies using a large panel of methodologies and multiple species show that some of the most dramatic transcriptional changes that occur during aging are associated with immunity. This observation leads to two fundamental questions: (1) Why is the immune response altered with age? (2) Is this a consequence of aging or does it contribute to it? The origin of these changes and the mechanistic relationship among them as well as with aging must be identified. In mammals, this task is complicated by the interdependence of the innate and adaptive immune systems. The value of invertebrates as model organisms to help answer these questions is presented. This includes a description of the immune response in invertebrate models and how it compares with vertebrates, focusing on conserved pathways. Finally, these questions are explored in light of recent reports and data from our laboratory. Experimental alterations of longevity indicate that the differential expression of immunity-related genes during aging is linked to the rate of aging. Long-lived nematodes are more resistant to
DeVeale B, Brummel T, Seroude L. Immunity and aging: the enemy within? Aging Cell. 2004 August 3(4):195-208.
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