EQUUS - - Longevity -

One of the more sig­nif­i­cant changes in an ag­ing body is the oc­cur­rence of chronic, low-grade in­flam­ma­tion, a phe­nom­e­non called in­flamm-ag­ing. “Un­like acute in­flam­ma­tion, chronic in­flam­ma­tion is not re­solved within min­utes or hours but in­volves im­mune re­sponses and cy­tokine pro­duc­tion con­tribut­ing to this mild, per­sis­tent in­flam­ma­tory process that leads to tis­sue de­gen­er­a­tion,” ex­plains Adams.

In peo­ple, this chronic in­flam­ma­tion is be­lieved to be re­lated to a host of ail­ments that be­come more com­mon with ad­vanc­ing age, such as os­teoarthri­tis, heart dis­ease, diabetes, changes in body com­po­si­tion, en­ergy pro­duc­tion and uti­liza­tion, meta­bolic home­osta­sis, im­munose­nes­cence, neu­ronal health and cer­tain can­cers. In horses, in­flam­mag­ing may play a role in the de­vel­op­ment of many con­di­tions, in­clud­ing arthri­tis, in­flam­ma­tory air­way diseases, Cush­ing’s and in­sulin re­sis­tance.

Then again, in­flamm-ag­ing may sim­ply be a side ef­fect of th­ese con­di­tions--its causes and ef­fects are still not un­der­stood. “This low-grade, chronic in­flam­ma­tory process oc­curs with in­creas­ing age, and we don’t know why,” says Adams. “There are sev­eral the­o­ries, and one is that chronic anti­genic stim­u­la­tion over the years has ba­si­cally worn out the im­mune sys­tem. There is break­down in the sig­nal­ing path­ways that may con­trib­ute to the in­flamm-ag­ing that oc­curs with age, and we are try­ing to understand what may or may not con­trib­ute to this, and what it means for the horse.”

Re­searchers are in­ves­ti­gat­ing how diet, hor­mones and other fac­tors may in­flu­ence this phe­nom­e­non. “Maybe there’s a nu­tri­tional com­po­nent, or some

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