Longevity and aging are two sides of the same coin, as they both derive from the interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Aging is a complex, dynamic biological process characterized by continuous remodeling. One of the most recent theories on aging focuses on immune response, and takes into consideration the activation of subclinical, chronic low-grade inflammation which occurs with aging, named "inflammaging". Long-lived people, especially centenarians, seem to cope with chronic subclinical inflammation through an anti-inflammatory response, called therefore "anti-inflammaging". In the present review, we have focused our attention on the contrast between inflammaging and anti-inflammaging systems, by evaluating the role of cytokines and their impact on extreme longevity. Cytokines are the expression of a network involving genes, polymorphisms and environment, and are involved both in inflammation and anti-inflammation. We have described the role of IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-12, IL-15, IL-18, IL-22, IL-23, TNF-α, IFN-γ as pro-inflammatory cytokines, of IL-1Ra, IL-4, IL-10, TGF-β1 as anti-inflammatory cytokines, and of lipoxin A4 and heat shock proteins as mediators of cytokines. We believe that if inflammaging is a key to understand aging, anti-inflammaging may be one of the secrets of longevity.
Keywords: Aging; Anti-inflammaging; Cytokine; Inflammaging; Longevity.