Inflamm-ageing and lifelong antigenic load as major determinants of ageing rate and longevity

Massimo De Martinis, Claudio Franceschi, Daniela Monti, Lia Ginaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunosenescence is the consequence of the continuous attrition caused by chronic antigenic stress. The most important characteristics of immunosenescence (accumulation of memory and effector T cells, reduction of naive T cells, shrinkage of T cell repertoire, reduction of the immunological space) are compatible with this assumption. Immunosenescence can be taken as proof that the beneficial effects of the immune system, devoted to the neutralization of harmful agents early in life, become detrimental late in life, in a period not foreseen by evolution. This perspective could explain the mechanisms of the ageing process as well as the pathogenesis of age-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2035-2039
Number of pages5
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Apr 11 2005


  • Age-related diseases
  • Ageing rate
  • Antigenic load
  • Immunosenescence
  • Inflamm-ageing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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