An increasing proportion of the human population is ageing. The number of people older than 60 years will double in 2050, compared to 2000. Ageing affects all tissues, including the immune system.
Immunosenescence impairs the health of elderly individuals, decreasing quality of life and increasing health-care costs. Both innate and adaptive immune systems are affected, resulting in impaired development, loss of function and poor immune responses. The functional decline of the immune system has great impact on clinical settings. Vaccination efficacy in elderly reduces and gut microbiota composition changes. Increased knowledge on immunosenescence will lead to pharmacological and immunomodulatory treatments which will provide opportunities to reverse or slow down the effect of ageing on the immune system.
This project aims to assess the effect of ageing on the immune sampling capacity in the gut. Furthermore, the effect of administration of pre- and probiotics will be assessed in mice, and subsequently in humans.