, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 159–176 | Cite as

Compartmentalization of immunosenescence: a deeper look at the mucosa

  • Serena Martelli
  • Sylvia L. F. Pender
  • Anis LarbiEmail author
Review Article


Developments in medical care and living conditions led to an astonishing increase in life-span perspective and subsequently a rise in the old population. This can be seen as a success for public health policies but it also challenges society to adapt, in order to cope with the potentially overwhelming cost for the healthcare system. A fast-growing number of older people lose their ability to live independently because of diseases and disabilities, frailty or cognitive impairment. Many require long-term care, including home-based nursing, communities and hospital-based care. Immunosenescence, an age-related deterioration in immune functions, is considered a major contributory factor for the higher prevalence and severity of infectious diseases and the poor efficacy of vaccination in the elderly. When compared with systemic immunosenescence, alterations in the mucosal immune system with age are less well understood. For this reason, this area deserves more extensive and intensive research and support. In this article, we provide an overview of age-associated changes occurring in systemic immunity and discuss the distinct features of mucosal immunosenescence.


Immunosenescence Mucosal immunity sIgA Microbiota 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serena Martelli
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sylvia L. F. Pender
    • 1
  • Anis Larbi
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Academic Unit of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), Aging and Immunity ProgramAgency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR)SingaporeSingapore

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