Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 7 July 2004
All Pain, No Gain
The immune system sags with age, and responsiveness to vaccines goes with it. As immunologists learn why immunity falters, they might soon be able to give shots more punch
Abstract: Along with their strength and teeth, the elderly typically lose their responsiveness to vaccines. Researchers are uncovering what goes wrong as we age, knowledge that might allow them to tailor vaccines for older folks or pep up the aging immune system. One failing is the disappearance of the thymus, the gland in which T cells mature. The blood also fills with inert T cells lacking a key surface molecule. These cells might accumulate because of infection with microbes that can lurk in the body for decades. Although researchers can't yet rejuvenate the immune system, they are exploring options from reformulating vaccines to removing troublesome T cells from the blood.
Citation: M. Leslie, All Pain, No Gain. Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2004 (27), ns4 (2004).
Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150