The innate immune system is composed of a network of cells including neutrophils, NK and NKT cells, monocytes/macrophages, and dendritic cells that mediate the earliest interactions with pathogens. Age-associated defects are observed in the activation of all of these cell types, linked to compromised signal transduction pathways including the Toll-like Receptors. However, aging is also characterized by a constitutive pro-inflammatory environment (inflamm-aging) with persistent low-grade innate immune activation that may augment tissue damage caused by infections in elderly individuals. Thus, immunosenescence in the innate immune system appears to reflect dysregulation, rather than exclusively impaired function.
Copyright 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.