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The inflammatory status of old age can be nurtured from the intestinal environment

Guigoz, Yvesa; Doré, Joëlb; Schiffrin, Eduardo Ja

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: January 2008 - Volume 11 - Issue 1 - p 13–20
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3282f2bfdf
Ageing: biology and nutrition: Edited by Ronni Chernoff and Paolo M. Suter

Purpose of review Recent studies suggest an association between inflammation status and the presence of chronic disease in the elderly. The review examines publications that address the low level of chronic inflammation and emphasizes how an altered host–microbiota interaction at the gut level could contribute to maintaining a low systemic inflammatory status in the elderly.

Recent findings The first population cross-sectional studies with relevant numbers of healthy elderlies show age-related global changes in gut microbiota with a consistent increase in nonpathogenic Gram-negative mainly Enterobacteria and country-specific changes in bifidobacteria. Noninvasive methods have permitted us to detect subclinical intestinal inflammation in the elderly population. Furthermore, few studies report on immune and/or inflammatory response; however, prebiotics, probiotics or synbiotics might improve the inflammatory condition of the elderly.

Summary A better understanding of the mechanisms of host–gut microbiota cross-talk would significantly help in the design of novel nutritional strategies targeting immune reactivity at the mucosal level.

aNestlé Nutrition, Nestec Ltd, Vevey, Switzerland

bUnit for Ecology and Physiology of the Digestive Tract, INRA, Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, France

Correspondence to Yves Guigoz, Applied Science & Analytical Support, Nestlé Product Technology Centre, Nestlé Strasse 3, 3510 Konolfingen, Switzerland Tel: +41 31 790 1509; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.