Diseases of aging

Vaccine. 2000 Feb 25;18(16):1567-83. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(99)00489-2.


By definition, diseases of aging become clinically manifested in elderly patients. However, their pathogenetic basis has to be sought earlier in life. The general thread of this presentation relies on the concept of an evolutionary-Darwinian view of the development of age-related diseases. In essence, this concept states that we may have to "pay" for genetic traits that play a beneficial role earlier in life by the later development of diseases since there is no post-reproductive selective pressure that may have eliminated the potential late onset detrimental effects of such genes. Examples for this kind of trade-off are taken from diseases involving the immune system (infections), the endocrine system (andropause), the nervous system (Alzheimer's disease), the locomoter system (osteoporosis), the cardio-vascular system (atherosclerosis) and cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging* / genetics
  • Aging* / immunology
  • Aging* / physiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology
  • Biological Evolution
  • Disease / etiology*
  • Endocrine System Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Infections / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / etiology