Muscle Mass Linked to Healthy Immunity in the Long-Lived
Increasing evidence has demonstrated that the immune system closely interacts with other physiological systems, whose communications are mediated by circulating cytokines and hormones. The aim of our study was to test whether the number and cytolytic activity of NK cells in a group of relatively healthy Italian nonagenarians and centenarians were affected by the modifications of endocrine, metabolic and functional parameters that occur during ageing. Because of the extreme age of the study population, a cross-sectional analysis was performed. This study revealed that the group of oldest subjects with the highest number of NK cells and the best preserved cytolytic function also presented a preserved metabolism of thyroid hormones and vitamin D and integrity of muscle mass. In fact, the NK cell number and/or cytolytic activity of healthy subjects > 90 years old was positively associated with serum levels of vitamin D, while T3, FT4, i-PTH hormones and lean body mass were associated only with NK cell number. In conclusion, our results stress the paramount importance of nutritional evaluation in the clinical assessment of elderly people.
Mariani E, Ravaglia G, Forti P, Meneghetti A, Tarozzi A, Maioli F, Boschi F, Pratelli L, Pizzoferrato A, Piras F, Facchini A. Vitamin D, thyroid hormones and muscle mass influence natural killer (NK) innate immunity in healthy nonagenarians and centenarians. Clin Exp Immunol. 1999 April Laboratorio di Immunologia e Genetica, University of Bologna, Italy.