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Rheumatoid Arthritis, Immunosenescence and the Hallmarks of Aging

[ Vol. 8 , Issue. 2 ]


Paulina Chalan, Anke van den Berg, Bart-Jan Kroesen, Liesbeth Brouwer and Annemieke Boots   Pages 131 - 146 ( 16 )


Age is the most important risk factor for the development of infectious diseases, cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The very act of living causes damage to cells. A network of molecular, cellular and physiological maintenance and repair systems creates a buffering capacity against these damages. Aging leads to progressive shrinkage of the buffering capacity and increases vulnerability. In order to better understand the complex mammalian aging processes, nine hallmarks of aging and their interrelatedness were recently put forward.

RA is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting the joints. Although RA may develop at a young age, the incidence of RA increases with age. It has been suggested that RA may develop as a consequence of premature aging (immunosenescence) of the immune system. Alternatively, premature aging may be the consequence of the inflammatory state in RA. In an effort to answer this chicken and egg conundrum, we here outline and discuss the nine hallmarks of aging, their contribution to the pre-aged phenotype and the effects of treatment on the reversibility of immunosenescence in RA.


Aging, immunosenescence, inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, T-cells


Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, P.O Box 30.001, 9700 RB, Groningen, The Netherlands.

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