Targeting immunosenescence to enhance immunity

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The Akbar group has identified multiple novel mechanisms that induce immune decline during ageing. They discovered a new inhibitory protein complex in aged T cells that is regulated by sestrins, which can be blocked to enhance vaccine responsiveness in mice. In addition they showed that defective immunity to viruses in the skin of old humans arises from excessive inflammation, that could be reversed by treatment with an anti-inflammatory p38 MAPkinase inhibitor in vivo. This Showed unequivocally that immune decline can be reversed during ageing both at the cellular level and in respoinse to antigen challenge in vivo. This has considerable implications for strategies to enhance immunity after severe infections and vaccination that are reduced during ageing.