Stress, ageing and their influence on functional, cellular and molecular aspects of the immune system
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- Vitlic, A., Lord, J.M. & Phillips, A.C. AGE (2014) 36: 9631. doi:10.1007/s11357-014-9631-6
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The immune response is essential for keeping an organism healthy and for defending it from different types of pathogens. It is a complex system that consists of a large number of components performing different functions. The adequate and controlled interaction between these components is necessary for a robust and strong immune response. There are, however, many factors that interfere with the way the immune response functions. Stress and ageing now consistently appear in the literature as factors that act upon the immune system in the way that is often damaging. This review focuses on the role of stress and ageing in altering the robustness of the immune response first separately, and then simultaneously, discussing the effects that emerge from their interplay. The special focus is on the psychological stress and the impact that it has at different levels, from the whole system to the individual molecules, resulting in consequences for physical health.