Cellular and molecular immune markers of aging and frailty

Leon Samson

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    In this thesis, we aimed to clarify which aspects of an aging immune system are most relevant in maintaining good health into old age. Therefore, we set out to identify which immunological markers, including plasma inflammatory marker trajectories measured over 20 years, are related to frailty. We used blood samples and prior data of participants of the Doetinchem Cohort Study, a long-running cohort study in Doetinchem (The Netherlands) with health data and blood samples being collected every five years since 1987. We identified multiple potential immunological biomarkers of frailty. We showed that frail individuals already had signs of low-grade inflammation 15 years prior to their frailty assessment. Also, frail individuals had higher numbers of myeloid immune cells. Furthermore, we found differences between men and women, with women showing more and stronger associations of immunological biomarkers with frailty. This highlights the importance of investigating men and women separately in aging research. Furthermore, our findings indicate that a chronic CMV infection does not have a strong influence on frailty. Finally, we observed that immune cells of frail individuals showed reduced cytokine signaling. Based on the results of this thesis, we conclude that a ‘disbalanced’ immune system plays a role in frailty and becoming frail. These results contribute to knowledge about aging of the immune system and may help in future research to find ways to delay or counteract this process.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Boots, Mieke, Supervisor
    • Verschuren, W. M. Monique, Supervisor, External person
    • Engelfriet, Peter, Co-supervisor, External person
    • Buisman, Anne-Marie, Co-supervisor, External person
    Award date1-Sept-2021
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-6416-736-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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