, Volume 7, Issue 5–6, pp 399–408 | Cite as

The heat shock proteins in cellular aging: is zinc the missing link?

  • Anis Larbi
  • Juergen Kempf
  • Kilian Wistuba-Hamprecht
  • Constantin Haug
  • Graham Pawelec
Review Article


T-cell functions are critical for the efficiency of the adaptive immune response. It is now clear that aging is associated with changes in the T-cell response to antigenic stimulation, one of the many changes collectively resulting in immune senescence. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain such changes. We believe that chronic stimulation of T-cells enhances the appearance of apoptosis-resistant anergic dysfunctional cells; in humans in vivo these are predominantly specific for antigens of persistent viruses, especially CMV. Concomitantly, age-associated zinc deficiency is common and one hypothesis is that lack of zinc bioavailability contributes to impaired T-cell function. This could further compromise the integrity of T-cells under chronic antigenic stress, which can be modelled in long-term clonal cultures in vitro. Newly synthesized heat-shock proteins (HSPs) protect the cellular proteins from degradation under such conditions. In this short review we will briefly outline the role of heat-shock proteins and zinc deficiency in aging in order to finally discuss our own results in the context of a link between HSPs, aging and zinc.


Heat Shock Heat Shock Protein Lipid Raft Zinc Deficiency Population Doubling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by Zincage, contract FOOD–CT–2003-506850.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anis Larbi
    • 1
  • Juergen Kempf
    • 1
  • Kilian Wistuba-Hamprecht
    • 1
  • Constantin Haug
    • 1
  • Graham Pawelec
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Medical Research, Tüebingen Aging and Tumor Immunology groupUniversity of TüebingenTüebingenGermany

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