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Aging Cell. 2008 Mar;7(2):225-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2008.00370.x. Epub 2008 Jan 21.

Functional analysis of the Drosophila immune response during aging.

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Department of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada.


One of the most dramatic changes associated with aging involves immunity. In aging mammals, immune function declines and chronic inflammation develops. The biological significance of this phenomenon and its relationship with aging is a priority for aging research. Drosophila is an invaluable tool in understanding the effects of aging on the immune response. Similar to the state of chronic inflammation in mammals, Drosophila exhibits a drastic up-regulation of immunity-related genes with age. However, it remains unclear whether immune function declines with age as seen in mammals. We evaluated the impact of aging on Drosophila immune function by examining across age the ability to eliminate and survive different doses of bacterial invaders. Our findings show that aging reduces the capacity to survive a bacterial infection. In contrast, we found no evidence that aging affects the ability to eliminate bacteria indicating that the mechanisms underlying immune senescence are not involved in eliminating bacteria or preventing their proliferation.

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