Abnormal lung aging in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2012 Aug 15;186(4):306-13. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201202-0282PP. Epub 2012 May 10.


Aging is a natural process characterized by progressive functional impairment and reduced capacity to respond appropriately to environmental stimuli and injury. The incidence of two common chronic respiratory diseases (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis [IPF]) increases with advanced age. It is plausible, therefore, that abnormal regulation of the mechanisms of normal aging may contribute to the pathobiology of both COPD and IPF. This review discusses the available evidence supporting a number of aging mechanisms, including oxidative stress, telomere length regulation, cellular and immunosenescence, as well as changes in a number of antiaging molecules and the extracellular matrix, which are abnormal in COPD and/or IPF. A better understanding of these abnormalities may help in the design of novel and better therapeutic interventions for these patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / complications
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*