Vaccination is an appealing form of immunotherapy for frail senior patients. However, several studies have shown that in contrast to younger adults, older patients do not effectively respond to vaccines. This phenomenon is greatly attributed to immunosenescence, a hallmark of aging defined by a general decline in immunity caused by thymic involution. Historically, the study of thymic involution brought to attention several factors and components involved in thymopoiesis, as contributors to the phenomena. Depicting the underlying cause(s) of the dramatic changes in the production and properties of the naïve T-cell pool in the event of acute thymic injury or due to inovulation can therefore, help focus the efforts on the best strategy to reverse or overcome these hurdles. Here, we discuss some of the well-studied approaches for rejuvenating the thymus, and introduce interleukin-(IL) 21 as the most recent thymo-stimulatory agent in the field.
Part of the book: Gerontology