The number of centenarians is growing worldwide. This specific cohort has aroused the attention of scientists worldwide and is considered one of the most valuable models to study the mechanisms involved in the aging process. In fact, they have reached the extreme limits of human life span and, most important of all, they show relatively good health being able to perform their routine daily life. Because they have escaped the common lethal diseases, the role of their genetic background has been brought into focus. In fact, sequence variations, in a variety of pro- or anti-inflammatory cytokine genes, have been found to influence successful ageing and longevity. The key role played by cytokines has been also confirmed in centenarians as we know that inflammation has been related to several pathological burdens (e.g., obesity, atherosclerosis, and diabetes). Successful ageing seems to be related to an optimal functioning of the immune system, pointing out that polymorphisms for the immune system genes, which are involved in the regulation of immune-inflammatory responses, may play a key role in the genetics of ageing. This review provides an update in the field of ageing related to inflammation and genetics.
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Vol. 83 • No. 4