The Intestinal Barrier Dysfunction as Driving Factor of Inflammaging

Nutrients. 2022 Feb 23;14(5):949. doi: 10.3390/nu14050949.


The intestinal barrier, composed of the luminal microbiota, the mucus layer, and the physical barrier consisting of epithelial cells and immune cells, the latter residing underneath and within the epithelial cells, plays a special role in health and disease. While there is growing knowledge on the changes to the different layers associated with disease development, the barrier function also plays an important role during aging. Besides changes in the composition and function of cellular junctions, the entire gastrointestinal physiology contributes to essential age-related changes. This is also reflected by substantial differences in the microbial composition throughout the life span. Even though it remains difficult to define physiological age-related changes and to distinguish them from early signs of pathologies, studies in centenarians provide insights into the intestinal barrier features associated with longevity. The knowledge reviewed in this narrative review article might contribute to the definition of strategies to prevent the development of diseases in the elderly. Thus, targeted interventions to improve overall barrier function will be important disease prevention strategies for healthy aging in the future.

Keywords: aging; inflammaging; mucosal barrier.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases*
  • Longevity
  • Microbiota*