Mucosal Immunosenescence in the Gastrointestinal Tract: A Mini-Review

Gerontology. 2015;61(4):336-42. doi: 10.1159/000368897. Epub 2014 Dec 20.


It has been shown that pathogen-specific secretory IgA (SIgA) antibody (Ab) is the major player at mucosal surfaces for host defense. However, alterations in the mucosal immune system occur in advanced aging, which results in a failure of induction of SIgA Abs for the protection from infectious diseases. Signs of mucosal senescence first appear in the gut immune system. Further, changes in the intestinal microbiota most likely influence mucosal immunity. To overcome the immunological aging decline in mucosal immunity, several adjuvant systems including mucosal dendritic cell targeting have been shown to be attractive and effective immunological strategies. Similarly, microfold (M) cells involved in the antigen (Ag) uptake are ideal targets for facilitating Ag-specific mucosal immune responses. However, the numbers of M cells are reduced in aged mice. In this regard, Spi-B, an essential transcription factor for the functional and structural differentiation of M cells, could be a potent strategy for the induction of effective mucosal immunity in aging.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal / physiology*
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / physiology
  • Immunosenescence / physiology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Rats


  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory