, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 61-68
Date: 28 Aug 2008

Acquired immunity: immunosenescence and physical activity

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Abstract

Several lines of evidence indicate that infectious diseases, cancer, and autoimmune disorders occur more frequently in elderly people, thus suggesting that altered function of immune organs and cells, such as thymus and T and B lymphocytes are of primary importance in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Furthermore, old subjects are less responsive to vaccine than younger because of immune changes. The most common changes accompanying the adaptive immune system include decrement of T and B cells proliferation, repertoire degeneracy, increase of the memory cell type, decreased numbers of naive cells, and shift from T helper1 (Th1) to T helper2 (Th2) response. Regular exercise in the elderly may improve the alterations in acquired immunity which follow the physiological process of aging, allowing a major resistance against external pathogens and a better quality of life.