Thymic senescence develops in every person, although at different pace. Thymic senescence significantly lowers the production of naive T cells, leading to increased incidence of infections, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Certain external factors can accelerate thymic senescence. These include chemicals (copper-chelators), hormones (androgens), infections (viruses, fungi, protozoa). Others may slow the aging process of the thymus including perturbations to the hormonal (sex-steroid) system, genetic alterations (PPARgamma deficiency) or chemical compounds (PPARgamma antagonists). Thymic senescence research may provide insight to underlying molecular events and potentially appoint novel therapeutic targets for senescence intervention strategies. These hold promise to postpone thymus senescence and enhance T cell production. That would result in a decreased incidence of infections, cancer and autoimmune diseases, currently affecting the elderly. The attributed drop in healthcare costs and gain in quality of life share tremendous economic and social interest.
Part of the book: Thymus