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Immun Ageing. 2013 Aug 5;10(1):31. doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-10-31.

The interaction between gut microbiota and age-related changes in immune function and inflammation.

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Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sensory Organs, University of Bari, Policlinico, Piazza G, Cesare 11, 70124, Bari, Italy.


Intestinal microbiota and gut immune systems interact each other, maintaining a condition of homeostasis in the context of the intestinal habitat. However, both systems undergo modifications in elderly, thus accounting for a low grade inflammatory status which, in turn, may evolve toward more severe pathological conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and colon rectal cancer. In addition, in western societies dietary habits may negatively influence the microbiota composition, also altering gut immune response which is per se impaired in elderly. In order to prevent the outcome of aged-related disease, supplementation of nutraceuticals able to correct abnormalities of both immune system and microbiota has become more frequent than in the past. In this respect, a better identification of components of the aged microbiota as well as a deeper analysis of gut mucosal immunity function should be pursued.

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