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Inflamm-Aging, Cytokines and Aging: State of the Art, New Hypotheses on the Role of Mitochondria and New Perspectives from Systems Biology

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In this article we summarise present knowledge on the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines on chronic inflammation leading to organismal aging, a phenomenon we proposed to call "inflamm-aging". In particular, we review genetic data regarding polymorphisms of genes encoding for cytokines and proteins involved in natural immunity (such as Tolllike Receptors and Heat Shock Proteins) obtained from large population studies including young, old and very old people in good health status or affected by age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease and Type II Diabetes. On the whole, despite some controversial results, the available data are in favour of the hypothesis that pro-inflammatory cytokines play an important role in aging and longevity. Further, we present a possible hypothesis to reconcile energetic dysfunction, including mitochondria, and inflamm-aging. New perspectives for future studies, including phylogenetic studies in animal models and in silico studies on mathematical and bioinformatic models inspired by the systems biology approach, are also proposed.

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Keywords: Inflammation; aging; bioinformatics; cytokines; genetic polymorphisms; mitochondria; systems biology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, via S. Giacomo 12, Bologna, Italy.

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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