Impairment in autophagy may be the basis for functional deterioration and inability to respond to immunological challenges and stress in aging organisms.
This hypothesis is tested through the following studies:
- Autophagic pathways of different organs and systems (liver, brain and immune system) in the response to stress, and identifying how changes with age in the autophagic pathways affect the ability of those organs to respond to stress (Cuervo).
- Alterations with age in autophagic function in dendritic and T cells, and how those changes contribute to inadequate antigen processing and presentation (Santambrogio) and to the failure of T helper cell activation and tolerance (Macian), both signatures of immunosenescence.
- How the age-dependent decline in autophagy contributes to the metabolic syndrome of aging (Czaja).