, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 147–157 | Cite as

From inflamm-aging to immune-paralysis: a slippery slope during aging for immune-adaptation

  • T. FulopEmail author
  • G. Dupuis
  • S. Baehl
  • A. Le Page
  • K. Bourgade
  • E. Frost
  • J. M. Witkowski
  • G. Pawelec
  • A. Larbi
  • S. Cunnane
Review Article


Aging is accompanied by many physiological changes including those in the immune system. These changes are designated as immunosenescence indicating that age induces a decrease in immune functions. However, since many years we know that some aspects are not decreasing but instead are increasing like the pro-inflammatory activity by the innate immune cells, especially by monocytes/macrophages. Recently it became evident that these cells may possess a sort of memory called trained memory sustained by epigenetic changes occurring long after even in the absence of the initiator aggressor. In this review we are reviewing evidences that such changes may occur in aging and describe the relationship between inflamm-aging and immunosenescence as an adaptation/remodelling process leading on one hand to increased inflammation and on the other to decreased immune response (immune-paralysis) mastered by the innate immune system. These changes may collectively induce a state of alertness which assure an immune response even if ultimately resulting in age-related deleterious inflammatory diseases.


Ageing Innate immunity Adaptive immunity Alzheimer’s disease Hip fracture Inflamm-aging Epigenetic memory 



This work was partly supported by Grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (Nos. 106634 and 106701), Canada Research Chairs (SCC) the Université de Sherbrooke, and the Research Center on Aging. Anis Larbi is funded by the Agency for Science Technology and Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Fulop
    • 1
    • 8
    Email author
  • G. Dupuis
    • 2
  • S. Baehl
    • 1
  • A. Le Page
    • 1
  • K. Bourgade
    • 1
  • E. Frost
    • 3
  • J. M. Witkowski
    • 4
  • G. Pawelec
    • 5
  • A. Larbi
    • 6
  • S. Cunnane
    • 7
  1. 1.Immunology Programme, Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, Research Center on AgingUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  2. 2.Immunology Programme, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  3. 3.Department of Infectiology and MicrobiologyUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  4. 4.Department of PathophysiologyMedical University of GdańskGdańskPoland
  5. 5.Center for Medical ResearchUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  6. 6.Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), BiopolisAgency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR)SingaporeSingapore
  7. 7.Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Research Center on AgingUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  8. 8.Geriatrics Division, Department of Medicine, Research Center on AgingUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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