Immunity in the Elderly: The Role of the Thymus

R. Aspinall, D. Pitts, A. Lapenna, W. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Adjustments to lifestyle including social and medical changes have led to human populations having increased longevity in many countries, producing shifts in the population demographics. Approximately half of the increase in the world's population by 2050 may be accounted for by the prolonged survival of those over the age of 60. It is possible to age in relatively good health, but this is rare and for the majority of individuals, growing old is associated with functional impairment, an increased risk of developing a degenerative condition, an increased susceptibility to disease and an increased risk of death. The ageing human population is one of the most urgent challenges facing us today. Changes in the immune system are considered to have a critical role in the decline seen with age, since many infectious diseases may no longer kill an individual, but may contribute to more subtle overall changes. So the impact of infections in older individuals should not be measured only in terms of direct mortality rates, but also by their contribution to the 'indirect' mortality rate and to changes in the quality of life. Taking a pragmatic approach, we need to understand the drivers for immune decline if we are to consider intervening therapeutically in this process. One of the central drivers to this process is age-linked atrophy of the thymus and reversal of this process may have a considerable role in reversing immune decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S111-S115
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
Volume142
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Early online date1 Dec 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Thymus Gland
Immunity
immunity
human population
Population
Social Adjustment
Mortality
Disease Susceptibility
atrophy
quality of life
infectious diseases
lifestyle
Atrophy
Communicable Diseases
immune system
Life Style
Immune System
demographic statistics
Quality of Life
Demography

Keywords

  • atrophy
  • immunosenescence
  • T-cell
  • thymus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • veterinary(all)

Cite this

Immunity in the Elderly : The Role of the Thymus. / Aspinall, R.; Pitts, D.; Lapenna, A.; Mitchell, W.

In: Journal of Comparative Pathology, Vol. 142, No. SUPPL. 1, 01.2010, p. S111-S115.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Aspinall, R. ; Pitts, D. ; Lapenna, A. ; Mitchell, W. / Immunity in the Elderly : The Role of the Thymus. In: Journal of Comparative Pathology. 2010 ; Vol. 142, No. SUPPL. 1. pp. S111-S115.
@article{5d3b3964e4ed40249948d39ea907e510,
title = "Immunity in the Elderly: The Role of the Thymus",
abstract = "Adjustments to lifestyle including social and medical changes have led to human populations having increased longevity in many countries, producing shifts in the population demographics. Approximately half of the increase in the world's population by 2050 may be accounted for by the prolonged survival of those over the age of 60. It is possible to age in relatively good health, but this is rare and for the majority of individuals, growing old is associated with functional impairment, an increased risk of developing a degenerative condition, an increased susceptibility to disease and an increased risk of death. The ageing human population is one of the most urgent challenges facing us today. Changes in the immune system are considered to have a critical role in the decline seen with age, since many infectious diseases may no longer kill an individual, but may contribute to more subtle overall changes. So the impact of infections in older individuals should not be measured only in terms of direct mortality rates, but also by their contribution to the 'indirect' mortality rate and to changes in the quality of life. Taking a pragmatic approach, we need to understand the drivers for immune decline if we are to consider intervening therapeutically in this process. One of the central drivers to this process is age-linked atrophy of the thymus and reversal of this process may have a considerable role in reversing immune decline.",
keywords = "atrophy, immunosenescence, T-cell, thymus",
author = "R. Aspinall and D. Pitts and A. Lapenna and W. Mitchell",
year = "2010",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.jcpa.2009.10.022",
language = "English",
volume = "142",
pages = "S111--S115",
journal = "Journal of Comparative Pathology",
issn = "0021-9975",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "SUPPL. 1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Immunity in the Elderly

T2 - The Role of the Thymus

AU - Aspinall, R.

AU - Pitts, D.

AU - Lapenna, A.

AU - Mitchell, W.

PY - 2010/1

Y1 - 2010/1

N2 - Adjustments to lifestyle including social and medical changes have led to human populations having increased longevity in many countries, producing shifts in the population demographics. Approximately half of the increase in the world's population by 2050 may be accounted for by the prolonged survival of those over the age of 60. It is possible to age in relatively good health, but this is rare and for the majority of individuals, growing old is associated with functional impairment, an increased risk of developing a degenerative condition, an increased susceptibility to disease and an increased risk of death. The ageing human population is one of the most urgent challenges facing us today. Changes in the immune system are considered to have a critical role in the decline seen with age, since many infectious diseases may no longer kill an individual, but may contribute to more subtle overall changes. So the impact of infections in older individuals should not be measured only in terms of direct mortality rates, but also by their contribution to the 'indirect' mortality rate and to changes in the quality of life. Taking a pragmatic approach, we need to understand the drivers for immune decline if we are to consider intervening therapeutically in this process. One of the central drivers to this process is age-linked atrophy of the thymus and reversal of this process may have a considerable role in reversing immune decline.

AB - Adjustments to lifestyle including social and medical changes have led to human populations having increased longevity in many countries, producing shifts in the population demographics. Approximately half of the increase in the world's population by 2050 may be accounted for by the prolonged survival of those over the age of 60. It is possible to age in relatively good health, but this is rare and for the majority of individuals, growing old is associated with functional impairment, an increased risk of developing a degenerative condition, an increased susceptibility to disease and an increased risk of death. The ageing human population is one of the most urgent challenges facing us today. Changes in the immune system are considered to have a critical role in the decline seen with age, since many infectious diseases may no longer kill an individual, but may contribute to more subtle overall changes. So the impact of infections in older individuals should not be measured only in terms of direct mortality rates, but also by their contribution to the 'indirect' mortality rate and to changes in the quality of life. Taking a pragmatic approach, we need to understand the drivers for immune decline if we are to consider intervening therapeutically in this process. One of the central drivers to this process is age-linked atrophy of the thymus and reversal of this process may have a considerable role in reversing immune decline.

KW - atrophy

KW - immunosenescence

KW - T-cell

KW - thymus

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=73249145637&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jcpa.2009.10.022

DO - 10.1016/j.jcpa.2009.10.022

M3 - Article

VL - 142

SP - S111-S115

JO - Journal of Comparative Pathology

JF - Journal of Comparative Pathology

SN - 0021-9975

IS - SUPPL. 1

ER -