Reviews: Gerotarget (Focus on Aging):

Characterization and redox mechanism of asthma in the elderly

Li Zuo, Benjamin K. Pannell and Zewen Liu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:25010-25021. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7075

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Li Zuo1,2, Benjamin K. Pannell1 and Zewen Liu1,3

1 Radiologic Sciences and Respiratory Therapy Division, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA

2 The Interdisciplinary Biophysics Graduate Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

3 Department of Anesthesiology, Affiliated Ezhou Central Hospital, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University Medical School, Hubei, China

Correspondence to:

Zewen Liu, email:

Li Zuo, email:

Keywords: aging, allergic, inflammation, oxidative stress, respiratory

Received: August 16, 2015 Accepted: January 17, 2016 Published: January 29, 2016


Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by reversible airflow limitation, coughing, bronchial constriction, and an inflammatory immune response. While asthma has frequently been categorized as emerging in childhood, evidence has begun to reveal that the elderly population is certainly susceptible to late-onset, or even long-standing asthma. Non-atopic asthma, most commonly found in elderly patients is associated with elevated levels of serum and sputum neutrophils and may be more detrimental than atopic asthma. The mortality of asthma is high in the elderly since these patients often possess more severe symptoms than younger populations. The redox mechanisms that mediate inflammatory reactions during asthma have not been thoroughly interpreted in the context of aging. Thus, we review the asthmatic symptoms related to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) in seniors. Moreover, immune status in the elderly is weakened in part by immunosenescence, which is broadly defined as the decline in functionality of the immune system that corresponds with increasing age. The effects of immunosenescence on the expression of biomarkers potentially utilized in the clinical diagnosis of asthma remain unclear. It has also been shown that existing asthma treatments are less effective in the elderly. Thus, it is necessary that clinicians approach the diagnosis and treatment of asthmatic senior patients using innovative methods. Asthma in the elderly demands more intentional diagnostic and therapeutic research since it is potentially one of the few causes of mortality and morbidity in the elderly that is largely reversible.

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