The aging process is accompanied by an impairment of the physiological systems including the immune system. This system is an excellent indicator of health. We have also observed that several functions of the immune cells are good markers of biological age and predictors of longevity. In agreement with the oxidation-inflammation theory that we have proposed, the chronic oxidative stress that appears with age affects all cells and especially those of the regulatory systems, such as the nervous, endocrine and immune systems and the communication between them. This fact prevents an adequate homeostasis and, therefore, the preservation of health. We have also proposed an involvement of the immune system in the aging process of the organism, concretely in the rate of aging, since there is a relation between the redox state and functional capacity of the immune cells and the longevity of individuals. A confirmation of the central role of the immune system in oxi-inflamm-aging is that several lifestyle strategies such as the administration of adequate amounts of antioxidants in the diet, physical exercise, physical and mental activity through environmental enrichment and hormetic interventions improve functions of immune cells, decreasing their oxidative stress, and consequently increasing the longevity of individuals. Recent results in mice of investigations on the effects of a new environmental enrichment (bathing in waters) as well as a hormetic intervention with slight infections (caused by injection of E.coli lipopolysaccharide, LPS), on several functions and redox parameters are shown. The advantages and possible problems of the use of those interventions to achieve a healthy aging and longevity are discussed.
Keywords: Aging, oxi-inflamm-aging, immune system, behavior, antioxidants, physical activity, environmental enrichment, hormesis, oxidation, inflammation
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