Aging of the immune system may contribute to the development of aging-associated autoimmune diseases, such as giant cell arteritis, polymyalgia rheumatica and rheumatoid arthritis. The aim of this thesis was to identify aging-dependent changes of the adaptive immune system that promote autoimmunity in the elderly. The first chapters of this thesis describe changes of the adaptive immune system occurring during healthy aging (chapters 2 to 6). Furthermore, we link maintenance of particular T and B cell populations to risk factors for aging-associated autoimmune diseases and development of circulating autoantibodies (chapters 2 and 6). The final chapters of this thesis focus on changes of the adaptive immune system in patients with aging-associated autoimmune diseases, i.e. giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica (chapters 7 to 9). Furthermore, the diagnostic potential of cellular and soluble immune parameters is explored in the latter two diseases (chapters 8 and 9).
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Place of Publication||[Groningen]|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|