Unraveling the syndrome of the age-associated diseases: Cancer, Cardiovascular, and Neurological disorders. Common pathways and novel therapeutic strategies

Laura Faletti, Roland Mertelsmann, Katja Zirlik

Affiliation: Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg, Germany

Keywords: Ageing, autoimmunity, chronic inflammation, random mutations, age-associated B cells, omega syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, neoantigens, auto-antibodies, clonal proliferation.

Categories: Medicine, Life Sciences

DOI: 10.17160/josha.6.2.539

Languages: English

Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the most frequent causes of death in the industrialized world and their incidence increases significantly with age. Interestingly, autoimmunity is also seen with a higher frequency among older people. Is there a common pathogenic mechanism underlying this triad? One possible mechanism is the age-associated mutations that occur in all the cells of the human body capable of dividing. These mutations may lead to the formation of new proteins which can induce autoimmune reactions and inflammation that promote cancer and/or lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Here we review available evidence supporting the role of autoimmunity in the development of age-related diseases. If mutation-associated autoantibodies play a central role in the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer as well as neurological disorders, a new therapeutic option could be considered to switch off this key mechanism of the aging process. This also raises the question of whether successful treatment of autoimmune reactions, even at the subclinical level, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other age-associated diseases.

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