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Age-related changes in the immune system and immunosenescence

Prof Yeh will introduce Age-related changes in the immune system and gender differences in immunosenescence.

The ageing process affects the immune system, with changes in both innate and adaptive immunity, leading to inflammaging, and the rate of immunosenescence progression varies between males and females.

The immune system undergoes changes with ageing, including a decrease in the number of lymphoid precursors and stem cell output, as well as a decrease in B cell diversity and affinity, leading to a decline in humoral immunity. Additionally, cell dysfunction manifests as a decrease in cell number and activation. While the innate immune system may not undergo significant changes in population, phagocytes’ ability to phagocytose, NK cells’ cytotoxicity, and dendritic cells’ antigen presentation all decrease with age.

These age-related changes in the immune system contribute to inflammaging, as inflammatory mediators such as cell debris, DAMPs, and senescent cells accumulate. The progression of immunosenescence is faster in men than women, possibly due to differences in hormones and environmental factors.

Review Questions:

  • What are the changes that occur in the adaptive immune system with ageing?
  • How does inflammaging contribute to the ageing process?
  • What factors contribute to the faster progression of immunosenescence in men compared to women?
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Nutrition and Age-Related Chronic Diseases

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