Immune Parameters Associated with Mortality in Longitudinal Studies of Very Old People Can Be Markedly Dissimilar Even in Apparently Similar Populations

  • Graham PawelecEmail author
  • David Goldeck
Part of the Healthy Ageing and Longevity book series (HAL, volume 10)


While challenging, only longitudinal studies can pinpoint biomarkers dynamically associated with a selected outcome. In human studies of ageing, this challenge is particularly onerous, both in terms of the time required and the outcome selected. While recognizing the limitations of our approach, taking the most robust and unequivocal outcome (all-cause mortality), and taking a very old population as the starting point, we have sought to define peripheral blood “immune signatures” predicting incipient mortality. Studies in overtly similar populations in Sweden, Belgium and The Netherlands reveal certain constellations of immune biomarkers associated with all-cause mortality in people >80 years of age. Unexpectedly, however, these “immune risk profiles” are different in the different populations. Thus, it is unlikely that it will be possible to identify “one-size-fits-all” biomarkers of ageing in different populations, at least when solely focusing on parameters of immunity.


Immunosenescence Longitudinal studies Immune signatures Immune risk profile Cytomegalovirus Inflammaging Biomarker of aging Mortality 



The author’s own work was most recently supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG PA 361/22), the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF 16SV5536K), the European Commission (FP7 LIP F2-2011-259679, IDEAL), and an unrestricted educational grant from the Croeni Foundation.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ImmunologyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Health Sciences North Research Institute of CanadaSudburyCanada
  3. 3.Second Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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