Sunday, January 15, 2006

immune system rejuvenation

One theory of aging proposes that the immune system declines with age, failing to protect the body from disease. The immune system may also play an important role in many aging processes as well. Many methods of bolstering the immune system are currently being researched. Two methods that have been studied are dietary restriction and transplanting immune cells from a young animal to an old animal. Another method that has been studied is the administration of hormones from the thymus gland. These methods lengthen life in some rodents with immune deficiencies but they have no life-extending effects on normal animals.
A drug called CoQ has also been investigated because of the theory that the immune system decline is caused partly by a deficiency of these quinone compounds. When the drug is administered to mice it prevents tumors. The drug may have damaging effects, which are currently being studied. Interleuken-2, a substance that stimulates the growth of immune cells, restores certain immune functions in old mice.
See also AGING, BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF; COQ.
Kurz, M. A. "Theories of Aging and Popular Claims for Extending Life," in Aging, Goldstein, E. C., ed. Vol. 2, Art. 88. Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981.

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