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By Joseph F. Albright

George Washington Univ. tuition of drugs, Washington, D.C. Examines the most important beneficial properties and capabilities of the immune process probably to be altered by way of the getting older strategy. stories the slow breakdown of the resistance to an infection within the elderly and discusses lifespan extension and dietary hold up of immunosenescence. DNLM: Immunity--Aged.

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RELATIVELY COMMON BACTERIAL INFECTIONS OF AGING HUMANS Some important infectious diseases and their relative mortality in elderly subjects are shown in Table 2-1 (1). As expected, that list reflects the fact that there are three principal routes of infection: respiratory, urinary, and gastrointestinal (GI). The most compelling explanations of the prevalence of those diseases in the elderly are: 1) age-associated changes in the structure and function of the respiratory, urinary, and gastrointestinal organs; 2) underlying pathological changes resulting from existing disorders (comorbidity); and 3) age-associated decline (dysregulation) in innate (natural) and acquired (adaptive) imunological competence.

However, the mechanisms of lysis by the two types of T cells were entirely different. Lysis achieved by the double-negative cells was mediated by way of interaction of Fas on the infected target cells and Fas ligand on the T cells and, therefore, was an apoptotic event. Lysis by the CD8+ cells involved exocytosis of granules containing the lytic factors, perforin and granzymes, in typical cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) fashion. Only the CD8+ cells were able to destroy the intracellular M. tuberculosis organisms.

Tuberculosis infection depending on the route of infection and the dose (number) of bacteria provided to the animals (17–19). Aged mice were definitely more susceptible than young when a relatively high number of bacteria was given intravenously. However, when a much smaller number of bacteria was provided aerogenically (modeling a realistic human exposure) the course of infection in the lungs of young and aged mice was similar. Nevertheless, there remained important differences between young and aged mice with respect to elements of the immune system involvement in the infection.

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