Cytomegalovirus and Human Immune System Aging
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a persistent viral infection that is present in most older people. Effective control of infection depends on a strong and sustained virus-specific immune response, and there is concern that this can weaken the ability to control other infections and may lead to immunopathology. Epidemiological studies have shown that infection does increase mortality risk in some populations, but this has not been seen consistently. We now need to understand the biological basis of these conflicting findings and to develop treatment approaches for older people at risk.
Cytomegalovirus is a member of the herpesvirus family, and chronic infection is widely prevalent in the human population (Reddehase 2006). Infection can be a major clinical problem for the fetus or in patients who are immunosuppressed, and there is now concern that it may also cause health problems in apparently healthy older people. In particular, a strong and sustained immune response is...
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