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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 806198, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/806198
Review Article

Aging Adults and Seasonal Influenza: Does the Vitamin D Status (H)Arm the Body?

1Department of Internal Medicine, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Medical School and University Hospitals of Geneva, Hospital of Trois-Chêne, Chemin du Pont-Bochet 3, CH-1226 Thônex-Geneva, Switzerland
2Translational Medicine Research Group, Cranfield Health, Cranfield University, Vincent Building, College Road, Cranfield MK430AL, UK

Received 23 June 2011; Accepted 23 August 2011

Academic Editor: Monika Neuhäuser-Berthold

Copyright © 2012 Pierre Olivier Lang and Dimitrios Samaras. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Vitamin D (VitD), although originally described as an essential hormone for bone and mineral homeostasis, appears to have an active role in regulating specific facets of human immunity. Indeed, VitD has been shown to have significant effects on cytokine production and lymphocyte proliferation. Evidence that VitD affects clearance of selected pathogens is supported by epidemiological and clinical data, while its coadministration with influenza vaccine in mice enhanced both mucosal and systemic antibody responses. This paper aims to examine how VitD may contribute to limiting the burden of influenza infection in the aging and aged adults, a population in which this burden remains considerable. Furthermore, we discuss how VitD status may play a role in host resistance to influenza virus and influence the immunogenicity of the influenza vaccines currently licensed for adults aged 65 years or over by its effects on innate and adaptive immunities.