Disorganization of secondary lymphoid organs and dyscoordination of chemokine secretion as key contributors to immune aging

Sandip Ashok Sonar, Makiko Watanabe, Janko Nikolich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aging is characterized by progressive loss of organ and tissue function, and the immune system is no exception to that inevitable principle. Of all the age-related changes in the body, reduction of the size of, and naïve T (Tn) cell output from, the thymus occurs earliest, being prominent already before or by the time of puberty. Therefore, to preserve immunity against new infections, over much of their lives, vertebrates dominantly rely on peripheral maintenance of the Tn cell pool in the secondary lymphoid organs (SLO). However, SLO structure and function subsequently also deteriorate with aging. Several recent studies have made a convincing case that this deterioration is of major importance to the erosion of protective immunity in the last third of life. Specifically, the SLO were found to accumulate multiple degenerative changes with aging. Importantly, the results from adoptive transfer and parabiosis studies teach us that the old microenvironment is the limiting factor for protective immunity in old mice. In this review, we discuss the extent, mechanisms, and potential role of stromal cell aging in the age-related alteration of T cell homeostatic maintenance and immune function decline. We use that discussion to frame the potential strategies to correct the SLO stromal aging defects - in the context of other immune rejuvenation approaches, - to improve functional immune responses and protective immunity in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101835
JournalSeminars in Immunology
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Immune aging
  • Lymph node involution
  • Lymphoid stromal cells
  • Secondary lymphoid organs
  • T cell homeostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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