Human ageing is characterized by several abnormalities of both innate and adaptive immune responses, thus leading to an increased
frequency of infectious, inflammatory, allergic and autoimmune diseases. In elderly patients, among allergic diseases, asthma is a
very common pathological event which complicates the dysfunction of many systems.
Among a variety of natural products used to modulate the altered immune response, polyphenols have been shown to exert antiinflammatory
activities in both young and aged persons.
Here, special emphasis will be given to the the immune-modulating effects of Leucoselect® Phytosome® (a dietary supplement enriched
in the flavonoid epigallocatechin) administered to frail elderly patients. Leucoselect® Phytosome® was able to upregulate the T helper
(Th)1 response [increase in serum concentrations of interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon-γ]. On the other hand, IL-4 serum levels, as an index
of Th2 function, fluctuated within normal ranges. Quite interestingly, in this cohort of frail aged patients from South Italy the balance
between inflammation (IL-17) and anti-inflammation (IL-10) was preserved, thus suggesting that the Mediterranean diet might have been
involved in the observed effects.
In conclusion, these data support the ability of Leucoselect® Phytosome® to induce up-regulation of Th1 responses in frail elderly patients
which may be beneficial in those patients affected by chronic allergic disorders.