Understanding immunosenescence to improve responses to vaccines

Nat Immunol. 2013 May;14(5):428-36. doi: 10.1038/ni.2588. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


In the older adult, the benefits of vaccination to prevent infectious disease are limited, mainly because of the adaptive immune system's inability to generate protective immunity. The age-dependent decrease in immunological competence, often referred to as 'immunosenescence', results from the progressive deterioration of innate and adaptive immune responses. Most insights into mechanisms of immunological aging have been derived from studies of mouse models. In this Review, we explore how well such models are applicable to understanding the aging process throughout the 80-100 years of human life and discuss recent advances in identifying and characterizing the mechanisms that underlie age-associated defective adaptive immunity in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence / immunology*
  • Communicable Disease Control*
  • Humans
  • Immunocompetence
  • Mice
  • Vaccination*
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines / immunology*


  • Vaccines