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Effect of Stress on the Immune System - Research Paper Example

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Stress and the aging immune system Name Institution Stress and the aging immune system Introduction Aging is one of the most admired processes in human life. Most people would like to live old and enjoy the benefits that come with it. However, as people age, there are remarkable changes in their body…
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Effect of Stress on the Immune System
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Download file to see previous pages Increased stress could make the immune system weaker and could lead to death. Aging Immune System The immune system changes a lot during the aging process. The numbers of cells that are associated with the immune system reduce significantly. The remaining cells may not be able to handle all the immune related responsibilities leading to low immunity. The immune system is comprised of two systems; the Innate Immune system and the Acquired Immune system. Innate Immunity in Aging The innate or natural immune system is made by the bone marrow and the thymus. Scientists have consistently claimed that the size of the thymus reduces in size a person’s age. This is characterized by the loss of the thymus epithelia cells, which are important for the production of immune cells. This leads to a decrease in the number of T cells including the CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ and the B cells. There is an increase in production of the Natural Killer Cells (NK) with the comprehensive cytotoxic function. The decline in especially the CD8+ leads to the vulnerability of bacterial and viral infections. CD95 cells become exhausted as people age and the remaining virgin CD95 cells are replaced by large clonal expansions of the CD28 cells, which lead to less proliferative capacity. Inflammatory cytokines, which are produced by the persistent viral and bacterial infections increase during the aging process. They increase the cases of inflammatory pathogenesis. In fact, most of the elderly have inflammations at some parts of their body.i Acquired Immunity in Aging Acquired immunity is the responsibility of the spleen and the lymph nodes. The spleen produces the B cells which are associated with the production of the antibodies. Aging has been found to alter the expression of the system responsible for the production of these cells. One, there is a decrease in the number of cells produced. Secondly, there is impaired induction f E47 and activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) which are important for class switch recombination (CSR) leading to defects in production of secondary isotopes of IgG1, IgG2a, IgG3, IgE antibodies. Aging has also been associated with the overproduction of the Id2 which regulates the E47 negatively.ii Another theory of acquired immunity change in aging points out that the B cells produce antibodies but they have low affinity. Usually, aging leads to change in isotypes related to production of the various antibodies. At the same time, there are few naive B cells in the elderly people meaning that there not many antibodies that can be produced. The already recruited B cells do not have good memory making it a challenge for them to detect previous pathogens detected in the past. Low affinity and low production of the antibodies cannot detect the pathogens effectively showing that the immune system is weak. The body is therefore unable to respond to infections accordingly. iii Effect of Nutrition on Immunity in Aging The elderly people, especially those above sixty years, do not take nutrition seriously. According to Gorczynski and Terzioglu (2008),iv most elderly people lack important nutrients. They claim that most of these people have deficiencies in zinc, iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Ubiquinone and selenium. Zinc is important in the activation of the immune system; iron plays a role in oxidative reaction immunity, vitamins are important in the modulation of cytokines and Ubiquinone influences the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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