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Ageing Res Rev. 2017 Nov;40:95-119. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2017.09.001. Epub 2017 Sep 9.

Health relevance of the modification of low grade inflammation in ageing (inflammageing) and the role of nutrition.

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Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom; NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom.
Nestlé Research Center Asia, 21 Biopolis Road, 138567, Singapore.
Danone Nutricia Research, 91767 Palaiseau Cedex, France.
INRA, Nutrition and Integrative Neurobiology, 33076 Bordeaux, France; Nutrition and Integrative Neurobiology (NutriNeuro), UMR 1286, University of Bordeaux, 33076 Bordeaux, France.
Metabolism and Nutrition Research Group, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Catholic University of Louvain, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.
MetaGénoPolis, INRA, Université Paris-Saclay, 78350 Jouy-en-Josas, France.
IRCCS, Institute of Neurological Sciences of Bologna, Bologna 40124, Italy.
DuPont Nutrition and Health, Global Health and Nutrition Science, 02460 Kantvik, Finland.
International Life Sciences Institute European Branch, 1200 Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:
Department of Experimental, Diagnostic, and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy.
Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova, 35121 Padova, Italy; IMDEA-Food, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Ageing of the global population has become a public health concern with an important socio-economic dimension. Ageing is characterized by an increase in the concentration of inflammatory markers in the bloodstream, a phenomenon that has been termed "inflammageing". The inflammatory response is beneficial as an acute, transient reaction to harmful conditions, facilitating the defense, repair, turnover and adaptation of many tissues. However, chronic and low grade inflammation is likely to be detrimental for many tissues and for normal functions. We provide an overview of low grade inflammation (LGI) and determine the potential drivers and the effects of the "inflamed" phenotype observed in the elderly. We discuss the role of gut microbiota and immune system crosstalk and the gut-brain axis. Then, we focus on major health complications associated with LGI in the elderly, including mental health and wellbeing, metabolic abnormalities and infections. Finally, we discuss the possibility of manipulating LGI in the elderly by nutritional interventions. We provide an overview of the evidence that exists in the elderly for omega-3 fatty acid, probiotic, prebiotic, antioxidant and polyphenol interventions as a means to influence LGI. We conclude that slowing, controlling or reversing LGI is likely to be an important way to prevent, or reduce the severity of, age-related functional decline and the onset of conditions affecting health and well-being; that there is evidence to support specific dietary interventions as a strategy to control LGI; and that a continued research focus on this field is warranted.


Adipose; Ageing; Antioxidant; Brain; Cytokine; Degeneration; Elderly; Gut; Health and wellbeing; Inflammageing; Inflammation; Microbiota; Obesity; Omega-3; Prebiotic; Probiotic; inflammaging

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