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Open Access Hypothesis

The discovery of how gender influences age immunological mechanisms in health and disease, and the identification of ageing gender-specific biomarkers, could lead to specifically tailored treatment and ultimately improve therapeutic success rates

Anna Maria Berghella*, Ida Contasta, Tiziana Del Beato and Patrizia Pellegrini

Author Affiliations

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Istituto di Farmacologia Traslazionale (IFT) via G Carducci, 32 - Rotilio Center, 67100, L’Aquila, Italy

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Immunity & Ageing 2012, 9:24  doi:10.1186/1742-4933-9-24

Published: 13 November 2012

Abstract

The control of human health and diseases in the elderly population is becoming a challenge, since mean age and life expectation are progressively increasing as well as chronic degenerative diseases. These disorders are of complex diagnosis and they are difficult to be treated, but it is hoped that the predictive medicine will lead to more specific and effective treatment by using specific markers to identify persons with high risk of developing disease, before the clinical manifestation. Peripheral blood targets and biomarkers are currently the most practical, non-invasive means of disease diagnosing, predicting prognosis and therapeutic response. Human longevity is directly correlated with the optimal functioning of the immune system. Recent findings indicate that the sexual dimorphism of T helper (Th) cytokine pathways and the regulation of Th cell network homeostasis are normally present in the immune response and undergoes to adverse changes with ageing. Furthermore, immune senescence affects both men and women, but it does not affect them equally. Therefore, we hypothesize that the comprehension of the interferences between these gender specific pathways, the ageing immunological mechanism in pathological or healthy state and the current therapies, could lead to specifically tailored treatment and eventually improve the therapeutic success rates. Reaching this aim requires the identification of ageing gender-specific biomarkers that could easily reveal the above mentioned correlations.