Journal Article

Biology of Immune Responses to Vaccines in Elderly Persons

Birgit Weinberger, Dietmar Herndler-Brandstetter, Angelika Schwanninger, Daniela Weiskopf and Beatrix Grubeck-Loebenstein

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 46, issue 7, pages 1078-1084
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/529197
Biology of Immune Responses to Vaccines in Elderly Persons

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With increasing age, the human immune system undergoes characteristic changes, termed immunosenescence, which lead to increased incidence and severity of infectious diseases and to insufficient protection following vaccination. Functional defects and altered frequencies of innate and adaptive immune cells impair local responses at the site of vaccine injection, hamper the generation of primary responses to neoantigens, prevent the effective induction of memory lymphocytes, and decrease the effect of booster vaccination. As a result, antibody responses of elderly vaccinees are weaker and decline faster, and long-term protective effects of vaccination cannot be taken for granted in elderly persons. Improved vaccination strategies, new adjuvants, and new vaccines that specifically target the aged immune system will help to overcome the limitations of immunosenescence and ensure a better protection of the vulnerable elderly population.

Journal Article.  4349 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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