Aging lymph nodes: Seeking a solution for weakened immune sy
Older adults are more susceptible to infection and their immune systems less capable of generating a strong immune response. Lymph nodes, which are critical for maintaining and revving up the immune response during infection, age at different rates. Lymph nodes closer to the skin deteriorate two to three times more quickly than those deeper in the body.

Humans have about 450 lymph nodes. These are like the barracks were little T cell soldiers go for shelter, sustenance and recovery. It is in the lymph nodes that the immune system first sizes up its enemy. During infection, the white blood cells specialized to fight divide rapidly in lymph nodes. One cell can generate a million others. They travel to the infection site quickly by using lymph nodes as a superhighway of sorts. This network of lymph nodes is what deteriorates at different rates.

The study explains the immune system’s response to skin infections and even skin cancers. They also found that the connections between the cells that maintain T cells and make up the lymph node superhighways were severely reduced.
This also is likely the reason for a weaker immune response to vaccinations delivered through the skin in older adults.

Source: https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.2121028119
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