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Immun Ageing. 2006 Dec 16;3:12.

Is inflammaging an auto[innate]immunity subclinical syndrome?

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Clinical Laboratory & Molecular Diagnostics, Geriatric Hospital INRCA-IRCCS, Via Montagnola 81-60100, Ancona, Italy.


The low-grade, chronic, systemic inflammatory state that characterizes the aging process (inflammaging) results from late evolutive-based expression of the innate immune system. Inflammaging is characterized by the complex set of five conditions which can be described as 1. low-grade, 2. controlled, 3. asymptomatic, 4. chronic, 5. systemic, inflammatory state, and fits with the antagonistic pleiotropy theory on the evolution of aging postulating that senescence is the late deleterious effect of genes (pro-inflammatory versus anti-inflammatory) that are beneficial in early life. Evolutionary programming of the innate immune system may act via selection on these genetic traits. Here I propose that the already acquired knowledge in this field may pave the way to a new chapter in the pathophysiology of autoimmunity: the auto-innate-immunity syndromes. Indeed, differently from the well known chapter of conventional autoimmune diseases and syndromes where the main actor is the adaptive immunity, inflammaging may constitute the subclinical paradigm of a new chapter of autoimmunity, namely that arising from an autoimmune inflammatory response of the innate-immune-system, an old actor of immunity and yet a new actor of autoimmunity, also acting as a major determinant of elderly frailty and age-associated diseases.

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