Immunosenescence, Thymic Involution and Autoimmunity

  • Wayne A. Mitchell
  • Richard Aspinall
Part of the Medical Intelligence Unit book series (MIUN)


In recent years life expectancy in Western Societies has dramatically increased with greater numbers of individuals living longer; consequently the prevalence of age-associated diseases such as infections, cancers and autoimmune disease increases. A striking feature of the ageing process is the involution of the thymus. This primary lymphoid organ is instrumental in generating naive T-cell required to successfully defeat against ‘foreign’ and ‘self’ antigens. Much effort has been made to find means of reversing the effects of ageing and a variety of factors have been investigated in a quest to maintain a youthful immune system. In this review we examine some features of immunosenescence and the work undertaken, with particular interest to the role of the cytokine interleukin-7, to further our understanding of the relationship between ageing and development of autoimmunity.


Zinc Deficiency Thymic Involution Ginkgo Biloba Extract Thymic Atrophy Thymic Function 


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wayne A. Mitchell
    • 1
  • Richard Aspinall
    • 1
  1. 1.Technology and Medicine, Faculty of Investigative Sciences, Department of ImmunologyImperial College of ScienceLondonUK

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