‘Inflammaging’ is the chronic, low-grade inflammation that arises in many tissues during the aging process.
Inflammation is normally beneficial for the body because it facilitates wound healing and the clearance of foreign pathogens. However, with age, control over the release of inflammatory molecules or their cleanup can deteriorate, leading to chronic inflammation- or 'inflammaging'- despite a lack of injury or invaders. There are several hypothesized drivers of chronic inflammation that are under investigation by longevity researchers. Some of these include accumulated damages, secretions from senescent cells, and the dysregulated activity of leukocytes (white blood cells). As with many of the age-related factors under study by researchers, inflammaging may contribute to or be exacerbated by other features of reproductive aging.
GCRLE Grantee projects
Dr Zhang Zijing: Macrophages are one type of leukocyte associated with chronic inflammation. Macrophages are important for the function of healthy ovaries, but lose control over the secretion of inflammatory molecules during aging, resulting in sustained low-level inflammation. GCRLE consortium member Dr Zijing Zhang is identifying what changes in ovarian macrophages with age for clues about inflammaging in the ovary.
Dr Farners Amargant: As a result of excessive inflammatory activity, tissue structure and integrity can be compromised, leading to fibrosis. Fibrosis is a hallmark of aging reproductive tissue and contributes to the decline in fertility and function with age. Dr Amargant’s scholar award research is investigating whether anti-inflammatory drugs can stall or reverse fibrotic growth and delay the aging of reproductive tissue.