Innate Immunosenescence and Its Impact on Health in Old Age

Mohammad Ahsan Tariq, Jon Hazeldine, and Janet M. Lord


Physiological ageing is associated with significant re-modelling of the immune system. Termed immunosenescence, age-related changes have been described in the composition, phenotype and function of both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. As the first line of defence against invading pathogens, age-associated alterations in innate immunity have been linked to the increased infection-related morbidity and mortality rates reported by older adults. However, is the only consequence of innate immunosenescence an increased susceptibility to infection? With data emerging demonstrating a role for innate immune cells in other biological processes besides host protection, such as wound healing, clearance of senescent cells and the resolution of inflammation, it is likely that innate immunosenescence has more far reaching consequences for the health and well-being of older adults than originally thought. Here, we provide an overview of the alterations that occur in innate immunity with age, highlighting studies that have uncovered the molecular mechanisms that underlie the changes they describe. Furthermore, we discuss the possible implications of innate immunosenescence for older adults beyond the much-discussed increased incidence and severity of infection.


Innate immunity • Ageing • Neutrophil • NK cell • Monocyte • Inflammageing

M.A. Tariq • J. Hazeldine • J.M. Lord (H)

MRC-ARUK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, Birmingham University Medical School, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017 V. Bueno et al. (eds.), The Ageing Immune System and Health, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-43365-3_1

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