Dendritic Cells in Immunosenescence

Magda PP Nascimento, Vanessa S Lara


The term immunosenescence usually refers to the aging of the immune system. Aging is associated with the progressive decline in immune function, resulting in an increasing susceptibility of the body to infection, taking into account the specific changes in T- cells, macrophages, neutrophils and dendritic cells. Dendritic cells (DCs) are play a key role in the induction of both innate and adaptive immunity. There are immature and mature forms located in the non-lymphatic organs and lymph nodes, respectively. DCs initiate and regulate the highly pathogen-specific adaptive immune responses, and are central to the development of immunologic memory and tolerance. In this text, we will briefly review DCs and changes associated with human aging, such as cytokine secretion, antigen capture, migration and priming of T cells. This functional decline would lead to major morbidity associated with infections such as influenza and pneumonia, which affect mucosal surfaces; in addition the increased incidence of cancer in the elderly is associated with the potential role of DCs.

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