The Complex Relationship Between Nutrition and Immunosenescence

  • Anis LarbiEmail author
  • Bruno Lesourd
  • Tamas Fulop
Living reference work entry


Human aging is associated with a loss of function involving organs or systems leading to pathologies such as cognitive impairment, macular degeneration, sarcopenia, frailty, cancer, and increased susceptibility to infections. The erosion of the immune system is one of the age-associated failures observed. The delayed time for recovery and the increased susceptibility to infections with aging are directly associated with immune dysfunctions. Moreover, interventions aiming to protect the aged population such as vaccination have a limited efficiency. The eroded innate and adaptive immunity are responsible for this phenomenon. Several prophylactic and therapeutic approaches could restore immune function of immunodepressed individuals. The nutritional approach is suitable for the aged population since it requires less care than any medical approach and its cost is much lower which is a key factor when considering the health burden costs. Nevertheless, it is necessary to carefully and critically analyze the recent development in this field. In this review, we will first discuss the age-associated changes in immune functions, collectively named immunosenescence, and then the age-associated changes in nutritional intake and metabolism with a particular interest in protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) to finally outline some of the candidate interventions to protect against PEM and immunosenescence.


Immunosenescence Inflamm-aging Nutrition Protein-energy malnutrition Nutritional supplementation 



This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG PA 361/11-1 and SFB 685-B4), the European Commission (EU-LSHG-CT-2007-036894 “LifeSpan”), and the IRSC (63149).


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), Agency for Science Technology and Research (A-Star)SingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.EA 2431, Faculté de Médecine, 28 Place Henri Dunant63001 Clermont-Ferrand and Hôpital Nord du CHU de Clermont-FerrandCebazatFrance
  3. 3.Research Center on Aging, Graduate Program in Immunology, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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