Immune deficiency, autoimmunity and aging

E. J. Yunis, G. Fernandes, L. J. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The only way to identify primary aging, thus far, is by retrospective analysis of individuals that live to an old age having escaped all diseases. The rate of decline of function of this population is hypothetic and is called optimal functional longevity. It seems apparent that in order to significantly increase the population of functionally aged individuals, one must not only continue to control secondary aging events but also attempt to alter the course of genetic programming. Although secondary aging and diseases of aging have been discussed at length, the precise relation to the rate of decline of function and primary aging still remains obscure. It is proposed that optimal functional longevity is genetically based and controlled by a hypothetic longevity homeostasis gene complex which includes Ir genes and genes that control endocrine balance. Altered functional longevity is most likely produced by genetic defects which lead to an imbalance between the external and internal environment i.e. detrimental virus host interactions and endocrine immune system dysfunctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalBirth Defects: Original Article Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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