• aging;
  • toll-like receptors;
  • monocytes;
  • immunosenescence;
  • IL-8;
  • flagellin


Aging is accompanied by a progressive decline in immune function. Studies have shown age-related decreases in the expression and signaling efficiency of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in monocytes and dendritic cells and dysregulation of macrophage TLR3. Using a multivariable mixed effect model, we report a highly significant increase in TLR5-induced production of IL-8 from monocytes of older individuals (P < 0.0001). Elevated IL-8 is accompanied by increased expression of TLR5, both protein and mRNA, and by increased levels of TLR5-mediated phosphorylation of MAPK p38 and ERK. We noted incomplete activation of NF-κB in response to TLR5 signaling in monocytes of elderly donors, as reflected by the absence of an associated increase in the production of TNF-α. Elevated TLR5 may provide a critical mechanism to enhance immune responsiveness in older individuals.