Systems biology of vaccination in the elderly

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2013;363:117-42. doi: 10.1007/82_2012_250.

Abstract

Aging population demographics, combined with suboptimal vaccine responses in the elderly, make the improvement of vaccination strategies in the elderly a developing public health issue. The immune system changes with age, with innate and adaptive cell components becoming increasingly dysfunctional. As such, vaccine responses in the elderly are impaired in ways that differ depending on the type of vaccine (e.g., live attenuated, polysaccharide, conjugate, or subunit) and the mediators of protection (e.g., antibody and/or T cell). The rapidly progressing field of systems biology has been shown to be useful in predicting immunogenicity and offering insights into potential mechanisms of protection in young adults. Future application of systems biology to vaccination in the elderly may help to identify gene signatures that predict suboptimal responses and help to identify more accurate correlates of protection. Moreover, the identification of specific defects may be used to target novel vaccination strategies that improve efficacy in elderly populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Systems Biology / methods*
  • Vaccination*