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Aging Cell. 2004 Aug;3(4):217-26.

Signal transduction and functional changes in neutrophils with aging.

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Centre de Recherche sur le Vieillissement, Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie, Programme d'Immunologie, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec J1H 4C4, Canada.


It is well known that the immune response decreases during aging, leading to a higher susceptibility to infections, cancers and autoimmune disorders. Most widely studied have been alterations in the adaptive immune response. Recently, the role of the innate immune response as a first-line defence against bacterial invasion and as a modulator of the adaptive immune response has become more widely recognized. One of the most important cell components of the innate response is neutrophils and it is therefore important to elucidate their function during aging. With aging there is an alteration of the receptor-driven functions of human neutrophils, such as superoxide anion production, chemotaxis and apoptosis. One of the alterations underlying these functional changes is a decrease in signalling elicited by specific receptors. Alterations were also found in the neutrophil membrane lipid rafts. These alterations in neutrophil functions and signal transduction that occur during aging might contribute to the significant increase in infections in old age.

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