The aging of the immune system and its implications for transplantation

Kathryn E. McGovern, Sandip A. Sonar, Makiko Watanabe, Christopher P. Coplen, Christine M. Bradshaw, Janko Nikolich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


By the last third of life, most mammals, including humans, exhibit a decline in immune cell numbers, immune organ structure, and immune defense of the organism, commonly known as immunosenescence. This decline leads to clinical manifestations of increased susceptibility to infections, particularly those caused by emerging and reemerging microorganisms, which can reach staggering levels—infection with SARS-CoV-2 has been 270-fold more lethal to older adults over 80 years of age, compared to their 18–39-year-old counterparts. However, while this would be expected to be beneficial to situations where hyporeactivity of the immune system may be desirable, this is not always the case. Here, we discuss the cellular and molecular underpinnings of immunosenescence as they pertain to outcomes of solid organ and hematopoietic transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1383-1400
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Aging
  • Immune response
  • Immunosenescence
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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