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Aging and the mucosal immune system in the intestine

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    Rights statement: This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. The publisher version is available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10522-014-9498-z

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http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10522-014-9498-z#
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
JournalBiogerontology
Volume16
Issue number2 Sp. Iss. S1
Early online date5 Apr 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

Abstract

Bacterial and viral infections of the gastrointestinal tract are more common in the elderly and represent a major cause of morbidity and mortality. The mucosal immune system provides the first line of defence against pathogens acquired by ingestion and inhalation, but its function is adversely affected in the elderly. This aging-related decline in the immune function is termed immunosenescence and is associated with diminished abilities to generate protective immunity, reduced vaccine efficacy, increased incidence of cancer, inflammation and autoimmunity, and the impaired ability to generate tolerance to harmless antigens. In this review we describe our current understanding of the effects immunosenescence has on the innate and adaptive arms of the mucosal immune system in the intestine. Current estimates suggest that by the year 2050 up to 40 % of the UK population will be over 65 years old, bringing with it important health challenges. A thorough understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to the development of immunosenescence is therefore crucial to help identify novel approaches to improve mucosal immunity in the elderly.

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