Aging, immunity, and cancer

Research Center on Aging, University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.
Discovery medicine (Impact Factor: 3.63). 06/2011; 11(61):537-50.
Source: PubMed


Age is the most important risk factor for tumorigenesis. More than 60% of new cancers and more than 70% of cancer deaths occur in elderly subjects >65 years. The immune system plays an important role in the battle of the host against cancer development. Deleterious alterations occur to the immune response with aging, termed immunosenescence. It is tempting to speculate that this waning immune response contributes to the higher incidence of cancer, but robust data on this important topic are few and far between. This review is devoted to discussing state of the art knowledge on the relationship between immunosenescence and cancer. Emerging understanding of the aging process at the molecular level is viewed from the perspective of this increased tumorigenesis. We also consider some of the most recent means to intervene in the modulation of immunosenescence to increase the ability of the immune system to fight against tumors. Future research will unravel new aspects of the immune response against tumors which will be modulable to decrease the burden of cancer in elderly individuals.

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    • "Additionally, there is a reduction in host defense mechanisms including macrophage phagocytosis, ineffective chemotaxis, decreased bactericidal function of neutrophils, and altered capability of dendritic and natural killer cells [69]. " Inflamm-aging " often takes place and is associated with immunosuppression and low grade inflammation [69]. When secondary pulmonary infection occurs as a result of impaired host response, secondary inflammation develops [73]. "

    Mediators of Inflammation 06/2015; 2015(692546):1. · 3.24 Impact Factor
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    • "It is well known that substantial changes in the immune system, in terms of function and phenotypic profile, occur with aging. It is clear that immune function declines with aging, as the elderly are more susceptible to infection and malignancy (Fulop et al., 2011), a phenomenon referred to as 'immunosenescence'. However, pro-inflammatory cytokines are reported to be elevated in the serum of the elderly (Krabbe et al., 2004), and some chronic inflammatory diseases are more frequent in the elderly when compared to the young (Lee et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Aging has been reported to be associated with changes in immune function. Although frequent infection and the development of malignancy suggest the decline of immune function with aging, changes toward proinflammatory conditions also develop at the same time. Th17 cells are well known CD4(+) T cell subpopulation closely linked to chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. In this study, changes in the Th17 population were investigated to elucidate a possible mechanism for this response with aging. Splenocytes were isolated from 2-month-old (young) and 20-month-old (aged) mice. CD4(+)CD44(+) memory T cells and CD4(+)CD62L(+) naïve T cells were isolated and sorted using magnetic beads and flow cytometry. The frequency of IL-17-producing cells was measured using flow cytometry. The expression of IL-17 and Th17-related factors at the mRNA level was measured with RT-PCR. IL-17 and Il-1β expression in spleen tissues was additionally assessed using confocal microscopy. The proportion of IL-17-producing CD4(+) T cells was higher in the splenocytes among the old mice than those of the young mice. When splenocytes were cultured in Th17 polarizing conditions, the proportion of IL-17 producing CD4(+) T cells was higher in aged mice as well. This was consistently observed when naïve and memory cells were isolated and differentiated into Th17 respectively. In addition, the expression of retinoic acid receptor-related orphan nuclear receptor gamma t (RORγt) and other Th17-related factors (AhR, CCR6, and CCL20) increased in the splenocytes of aged mice compared to the young mice. The expression of IL-1β, showing to promote Th17 differentiation, was higher in the aged mice. Likewise, CD4(+) T cell expression of IL-1R was higher in the aged mice, suggesting that the CD4(+) T cells of the aged mice are readily prepared to differentiate into Th17 cells in response to IL-1β. Confocal microscopy showed that cells positive for IL-1R or IL-1β were more frequent in the spleens of the aged mice. When an anti-IL-2 antibody was applied, the proportion of IL-17-producing cells increased more prominently in the young mice. We observed that IL-2 production and IL-2R expression were reduced in the aged mice, respectively, explaining the blunted response to the anti-IL-2 antibody treatment and the consequent minimal change in the Th17 population. We demonstrated that the proportion of Th17 cells increased in the aged mice both in naïve and memory cell populations. Elevation of IL-1R and IL-1β expression and the reduction in IL-2 and IL-2R expression in aged mice seemed to promote Th17 differentiation. Our results suggest that enhanced Th17 differentiation in aging may have a pathogenic role in the development of Th17-mediated autoimmune diseases.
    Experimental gerontology 10/2013; 49(1). DOI:10.1016/j.exger.2013.10.006 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    • "In addition to viruses, other stimulating agents may be present. This is perhaps the case for the continuous emergence of cancer antigens independent of the overt presence of clinical cancer (61). Indeed, many cancers such as advanced renal carcinoma, head and neck cancers, and melanomas are associated with the presence of late-differentiated CD8+ T cells (62, 63). "
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    ABSTRACT: Aging is associated with a dysregulation of the immune response, loosely termed "immunosenescence." Each part of the immune system is influenced to some extent by the aging process. However, adaptive immunity seems more extensively affected and among all participating cells it is the T cells that are most altered. There is a large body of experimental work devoted to the investigation of age-associated differences in T cell phenotypes and functions in young and old individuals, but few longitudinal studies in humans actually delineating changes at the level of the individual. In most studies, the number and proportion of late-differentiated T cells, especially CD8+ T cells, is reported to be higher in the elderly than in the young. Limited longitudinal studies suggest that accumulation of these cells is a dynamic process and does indeed represent an age-associated change. Accumulations of such late-stage cells may contribute to the enhanced systemic pro-inflammatory milieu commonly seen in older people. We do not know exactly what causes these observed changes, but an understanding of the possible causes is now beginning to emerge. A favored hypothesis is that these events are at least partly due to the effects of the maintenance of essential immune surveillance against persistent viral infections, notably Cytomegalovirus (CMV), which may exhaust the immune system over time. It is still a matter of debate as to whether these changes are compensatory and beneficial or pathological and detrimental to the proper functioning of the immune system and whether they impact longevity. Here, we will review present knowledge of T cell changes with aging and their relation to chronic viral and possibly other persistent infections.
    Frontiers in Immunology 09/2013; 4(article 271):271. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2013.00271
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