Inflammaging is a term coined to describe the chronic, smoldering background of inflammation that accompanies aging. It is constant, low-grade inflammation that interferes with stem cell mobility, cellular communication, and the immune system’s ability to operate correctly.
There are a number of known sources of inflammaging, including senescent cells, cell debris, immunosenescence, and microbial burden. Inflammaging precedes many age-related diseases, including atherosclerosis, arthritis, hypertension, and cancer. This persistent background of inflammation also leads to increasingly poor tissue repair and degeneration as we grow older .
This chronic inflammation likely contributes to the development of age-related diseases and to the aging process in general. Aged tissues have high levels of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6, IL-1β, TGF-b, and TNF-α, which are known to interfere with anabolic signaling, including insulin and erythropoietin signaling, thus contributing to the development of sarcopenia. This is part of the aging hallmark known as deregulated nutrient sensing.
This inflammation also plays a key role in reducing the level of NAD+ and sirtuin activity by increasing CD38 in tissue, which is linked to the development of sarcopenia and other age-related diseases.