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Sci China Life Sci. 2013 May;56(5):399-405. doi: 10.1007/s11427-013-4478-0. Epub 2013 May 1.

Immunosenescence and age-related viral diseases.

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CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.


Immunosenescence is described as a decline in the normal functioning of the immune system associated with physiologic ageing. Immunosenescence contributes to reduced efficacy to vaccination and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases in the elderly. Extensive studies of laboratory animal models of ageing or donor lymphocyte analysis have identified changes in immunity caused by the ageing process. Most of these studies have identified phenotypic and functional changes in innate and adaptive immunity. However, it is unclear which of these defects are critical for impaired immune defense against infection. This review describes the changes that occur in innate and adaptive immunity with ageing and some age-related viral diseases where defects in a key component of immunity contribute to the high mortality rate in mouse models of ageing.

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