BioScience Trends. 2008;2(6):218-230.

Inflammaging (inflammation + aging): A driving force for human aging based on an evolutionarily antagonistic pleiotropy theory?

Goto M


Aging, and especially human aging, can be explained by the emerging concept of parainflammation-driven inflammaging, i.e. a combination of inflammation and aging. Inflammaging posits that aging either physiologically or pathologically can be driven by the pro-inflammatory cytokines and substances produced by the innate immune system. Animals must maintain homeostasis as they age despite incessant attack from both intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli/antigens. These potentially harmful pro-inflammatory signals at a later stage of life may act antagonistically to the beneficial role they had in an earlier stage of life, like serving as developmental engines for body system formation. The concept of inflammaging is based on an antagonistic pleiotropy theory programmed during evolution. Clinical trials including caloric restriction, sirtuin activators, and p38 MAPK inhibitors against both pathological aging such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Werner syndrome and physiological aging have been proposed.

KEYWORDS: Aging, Antagonistic pleiotropy, Caloric restriction, Cytokine, Evolution, Inflammaging, Inflammation, Innate immunity, Metabolic syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sirtuin, Werner syndrome

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