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Longevity Briefs: How to measure an ageing immune system

Posted on 5 February 2021

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Longevity briefs provides a short summary of novel research in biology, medicine, or biotechnology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Cellular senescence is when a cell stops dividing. It is triggered by reaching a threshold number of cellular divisions; known as the Hayflick limit.

In this state the senescent cell secretes inflammatory material, causing damage to other cells. The immune cells are also victim to this, also referred to as immunosenescence.

The dysregulation and deterioration of the immune cells predispose older adults to a diminished response to a number of age-related chronic diseases, to autoimmunity, as well as to infections with novel pathogens, most notably, COVID-19.

What did the researchers do: In this review, researchers, based at the University of Oxford, focussed on the different hallmarks of cellular senescence and cellular ageing, and the detection techniques most suitable for immune cells.

Senescence biomarkers and detection techniques

Key takeaway(s) from this research: The authors concluded

Immune cells are one of the most accessible human samples, thus allowing easier ‘bench to bedside’ translation. It is especially relevant to advance in complex topics such as ageing. However, immune cells are very heterogeneous in phenotype and function, which requires systematic analysis at high resolution with single‐cell omics techniques to dissect certain phenomena. Thanks to the recent advances of cloud computing, large amounts of data generated can be stored and processed with unprecedented speed. Artificial intelligence technology can further help to decipher hidden patterns among the large data volume and unravel more robust biomarkers of ageing.

Source: Hallmarks and detection techniques of cellular senescence and cellular ageing in immune cells

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