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Mitochondrial Dysfunction and the Aging Immune System

Metabolism, Infection and Immunity Section, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
Biology 2019, 8(2), 26;
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 4 January 2019 / Accepted: 16 January 2019 / Published: 11 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Ageing and Diseases of Ageing)
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Mitochondria are ancient organelles that have co-evolved with their cellular hosts, developing a mutually beneficial arrangement. In addition to making energy, mitochondria are multifaceted, being involved in heat production, calcium storage, apoptosis, cell signaling, biosynthesis, and aging. Many of these mitochondrial functions decline with age, and are the basis for many diseases of aging. Despite the vast amount of research dedicated to this subject, the relationship between aging mitochondria and immune function is largely absent from the literature. In this review, three main issues facing the aging immune system are discussed: (1) inflamm-aging; (2) susceptibility to infection and (3) declining T-cell function. These issues are re-evaluated using the lens of mitochondrial dysfunction with aging. With the recent expansion of numerous profiling technologies, there has been a resurgence of interest in the role of metabolism in immunity, with mitochondria taking center stage. Building upon this recent accumulation of knowledge in immunometabolism, this review will advance the hypothesis that the decline in immunity and associated pathologies are partially related to the natural progression of mitochondrial dysfunction with aging. View Full-Text
Keywords: aging; mitochondria; inflammation; innate immunity; adaptive immunity; immunosenescence aging; mitochondria; inflammation; innate immunity; adaptive immunity; immunosenescence

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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McGuire, P.J. Mitochondrial Dysfunction and the Aging Immune System. Biology 2019, 8, 26.

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