Altered immune system in frailty: Genetics and diet may influence inflammation

Orietta Pansarasa, Cristiana Pistono, Annalisa Davin, Matteo Bordoni, Maria Chiara Mimmi, Antonio Guaita, Cristina Cereda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Frailty is a complex geriatric syndrome associated with biological vulnerability to stressors and decreased physiological reserve. Its etiology and pathogenesis are not completely understood, although various causes and complex pathways have been proposed. Immune system alterations (immunosenescence and "InflammAging") have been suggested to contribute to frailty, but a precise causative role of such alterations remains to be determined. Genetic studies support the suggestion of immune system involvement in frailty: genetic variants in genes involved in immune system function have been associated with the syndrome. Interestingly, nutritional status, through its effects on cellular metabolism, may also influence the immune system, i.e. hormone and cytokine (mainly adipocytokine) levels, and immune cell populations and function, increasing inflammation and contributing to frailty. This review aims to discuss the role of immune system alterations in frailty, analyzing the role of genetic factors in frailty onset and the impact of diet on inflammation and, in turn, on frailty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100935
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Early online dateJul 18 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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