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Does early infection affect the rate of aging?
An experimental test with pro- and anti-inflammatory parasites

Last update: : Tuesday 3 October 2017, by Nicolas Busser

Presented by: Gabriele Sorci, Biogéosciences, CNRS UMR 6282, Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté
Date: Thursday 14th Dec 2017, 13:30-15:00
Place: IPHC, Amphithéâtre Grünewald, bâtiment 25

While the antagonistic pleiotropy hypothesis has provided a fertile ground of investigation to explain the evolution of aging, the physiological mechanisms underlying it remain poorly known. Early work, based on the analysis of age-specific mortality rate of human cohorts, suggested that infection-induced inflammation at early age might have deleterious effect on late survival. Evidence based on historical human data is, however, correlative by nature and prone to potential confounding effects. We experimentally tested the idea that the inflammatory response has antagonistic pleiotropic functions, with benefits in early life in terms of protection towards infection and costs in late life in terms of accelerated senescence. To this purpose, we ran two experiments. In one experiment, young mice were infected with Plasmodium yoelii which stimulates the pro-inflammatory response. In another experiment, young mice were infected with the gut nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus which dampens the inflammatory response. I will present and discuss the results of these experiments and their relevance for our understanding of the evolution of aging.