Aging is a complex process which is accompanied with the decline and the reshaping of different functions of the body. In particular the immune system is characterized, during ageing (immunosenescence) by a remodeling of innate immunity (well preserved, up-regulated) and clonotypical immunity (severely altered) and by the occurrence of a chronic inflammatory process (inflammaging) which are, at least in part, genetically controlled. In this scenario, it can be anticipated that a crucial role is played by age-related structural and functional alterations and modifications of proteasomes and immunoproteasomes, the last being a key component of antigen processing and MHC class I antigen presentation. A variety of experimental data are available, suggesting that proteasomes are affected by age, and that in centenarians they are relatively preserved. On the contrary, few data are available on immunoproteasomes, likely as a consequence of the poverty of suitable cellular models. Lymphoblastoid cell lines from EBV immortalized B cells from old donors is envisaged as a possible model for the study of immunoproteasomes in humans and their changes with age. Thus, basic questions such as those related to possible consequences, for immune responses in infectious diseases and cancer, of age-related alterations of antigen processing and presenting, change with age of self-antigen repertoire, and the genetic basis of immunoprotesome activity and its change with age, remain largely unanswered.
- Antigen presentation
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