Homeostatic migration and distribution of innate immune cells in primary and secondary lymphoid organs with ageing

J. Nikolich-Žugich, J. S. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Ageing of the innate and adaptive immune system, collectively termed immune senescence, is a complex process. One method to understand the components of ageing involves dissociating the effects of ageing on the cells of the immune system, on the microenvironment in lymphoid organs and tissues where immune cells reside and on the circulating factors that interact with both immune cells and their microenvironment. Heterochronic parabiosis, a surgical union of two organisms of disparate ages, is ideal for this type of study, as it has the power to dissociate the age of the cell and the age of the microenvironment into which the cell resides or is migrating. So far, however, it has been used sparingly to study immune ageing. Here we review the limited literature on homeostatic innate immune cell trafficking in ageing in the absence of chronic inflammation. We also review our own recent data on trafficking of innate immune subsets between primary and secondary lymphoid organs in heterochronic parabiosis. We found no systemic bias in retention or acceptance of neutrophils, macrophages, dendritic cells or natural killer cells with ageing in primary and secondary lymphoid organs. We conclude that these four innate immune cell types migrate to and populate lymphoid organs (peripheral lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow), regardless of their own age and of the age of lymphoid organs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • ageing
  • cell trafficking
  • dendritic cells
  • immunosenescence
  • macrophage
  • natural killer cells
  • spleen and lymph nodes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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