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Longev Healthspan. 2013 May 2;2(1):8. doi: 10.1186/2046-2395-2-8.

Understanding how we age: insights into inflammaging.

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1
Department of Medicine for Older People, University Hospital Southampton, Southampton, UK. db@mrc.soton.ac.uk.

Abstract

Inflammaging is characterized by the upregulation of the inflammatory response that occurs with advancing age; its roots are strongly embedded in evolutionary theory.Inflammaging is believed to be a consequence of a remodelling of the innate and acquired immune system, resulting in chronic inflammatory cytokine production.Complex interrelated genetic, environmental and age-related factors determine an individual's vulnerability or resilience to inflammaging. These factors include polymorphisms to the promoter regions of cytokines, cytokine receptors and antagonists, age-related decreases in autophagy and increased adiposity. Anti-inflammaging describes the upregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis in response to inflammaging, leading to higher levels of cortisol, which in turn may be detrimental, contributing to less successful ageing and frailty. This may be countered by the adrenal steroid dehydroepiandrosterone, which itself declines with age, leaving certain individuals more vulnerable. Inflammaging and anti-inflammaging have both been linked with a number of age-related outcomes, including chronic morbidity, functional decline and mortality. This important area of research offers unique insights into the ageing process and the potential for screening and targeted interventions.

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