The ageing immune system: is it ever too old to become young again?

Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 Jan;9(1):57-62. doi: 10.1038/nri2471.


Ageing is accompanied by a decline in the function of the immune system, which increases susceptibility to infections and can decrease the quality of life. The ability to rejuvenate the ageing immune system would therefore be beneficial for elderly individuals and would decrease health-care costs for society. But is the immune system ever too old to become young again? We review here the promise of various approaches to rejuvenate the function of the immune system in the rapidly growing ageing population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Cytokines / therapeutic use
  • Forecasting
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immune System / growth & development*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / cytology
  • Lymphopoiesis
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Rejuvenation*
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Thymus Gland / growth & development


  • Cytokines
  • Hormones