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Immunology: Animal Models - Conclusion

aging developmental genetic immune aging tissue caudle

Animal models have substantially enhanced our understanding of the role of the immune system in tissue physiology and pathology. The dominant role belongs to MDCs, which influence the function of lymphocytes. The relationship Figure 2 Tissue Development and Longevity—the relationship between the period of tissue differentiation during immune adaptation (ia) and determination of adult tissue longevity. The liver differentiates from early stages of ontogeny, and functions throughout the life. The ovary differentiates later, and its normal function is limited (until the end of the reproductive period). If differentiation of the ovary is delayed toward the end of the immune adaptation (EIA, which is the end of the second trimester of intrauterine life in humans and the beginning of the second postnatal week in rats and mice), premature aging of the ovary (PAO) follows. Legend: ch = childhood; rp = reproductive period; ag = aging SOURCE: Based on: Bukovsky A.; Ayala M. E.; Dominguez R.; Keenan J. A.; Wimalasena J.; McKenzie P. P.; Caudle M. R. "Postnatal Androgenization Induces Premature Aging of Rat Ovaries." Steroids (2000) 65:190-205. between immune system and self is determined during immune adaptation, when the immune system may be programmed to ensure preservation of normal mature cells in self tissues. Epigenetic (environmental), or inherited alteration to early tissue development may contribute to the manifestation of organ-specific degenerative disease later in life. The knowledge gained from animal models offers hope for future modification of the human immune system to combat a number of disease processes.



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