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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02247

The Immunosenescence and its Hallmarks: how to Oppose Ageing Strategically? A Review of Potential Options for Therapeutic Intervention

  • 1Laboratory of Immunopathology and Immunosenescence, Department of Biomedicine, Neurosciences and Advanced Diagnostics, University of Palermo, Italy
  • 2Molecular Medicine Group, Department of Haematological Medicine, School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences The Rayne Institute London, UK , London , United Kingdom, King's College London, United Kingdom
  • 3Department of Medicine and Health Sciences "V. Tiberio", University of Molise, Italy
  • 4Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, United States

Ageing is accompanied by remodeling of the immune system. With time, this leads to a decline in immune efficacy, resulting in increased vulnerability to infectious diseases, diminished responses to vaccination, and a susceptibility to age-related inflammatory diseases. An age-associated immune alteration, extensively reported in previous studies, is the reduction in the number of peripheral blood naïve cells, with a relative increase in the frequency of memory cells. These two alterations, together with inflamm-ageing, are considered the hallmarks of immunosenescence. Although ageing is a plastic process, it is influenced by both nutritional and pharmacological interventions. Therefore, the role of nutrition and of immunomodulation in immunosenescence is discussed, due to the multifactorial influence on these hallmarks. The close connection between nutrition, intake of bioactive nutrients and supplements, immune function, and inflammation demonstrate the key role of dietary strategies as regulators of immune response and inflammatory status, hence as possible modulators of the rate of immunosenescence. In addition, potential options for therapeutic intervention are clarified. In particular, the use of interleukin-7 as growth factor for naïve T cells, the function of checkpoint inhibitors in improving T cell responses during ageing and, the potential of drugs that inhibit mitogen-activated protein kinases and their interaction with nutrient signaling pathways are discussed. Finally, it is suggested that the inclusion of appropriate combinations of toll-like receptor agonists may enhance the efficacy of vaccination in older adults.

Keywords: Ageing, immunosenescence, Immunomodulation, Immunotherapy, nutrition

Received: 29 Mar 2019; Accepted: 05 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Aiello, Farzaneh, Candore, Caruso, Davinelli, Gambino, Ligotti, Zareian and Accardi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: MD. Calogero Caruso, Department of Biomedicine, Neurosciences and Advanced Diagnostics, University of Palermo, Laboratory of Immunopathology and Immunosenescence, Palermo, 90127, Sicily, Italy, calogero.caruso@unipa.it