Effects of aging on urinary tract epithelial homeostasis and immunity

Marianne M. Ligon, Chetanchandra S. Joshi, Bisiayo E. Fashemi, Arnold M. Salazar, Indira U. Mysorekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A global increase in older individuals creates an increasing demand to understand numerous healthcare challenges related to aging. This population is subject to changes in tissue physiology and the immune response network. Older individuals are particularly susceptible to infectious diseases, with one of the most common being urinary tract infections (UTIs). Postmenopausal and older women have the highest risk of recurrent UTIs (rUTIs); however, why rUTIs become more frequent after menopause and during old age is incompletely understood. This increased susceptibility and severity among older individuals may involve functional changes to the immune system with age. Aging also has substantial effects on the epithelium and the immune system that led to impaired protection against pathogens, yet heightened and prolonged inflammation. How the immune system and its responses to infection changes within the bladder mucosa during aging has largely remained poorly understood. In this review, we highlight our understanding of bladder innate and adaptive immunity and the impact of aging and hormones and hormone therapy on bladder epithelial homeostasis and immunity. In particular, we elaborate on how the cellular and molecular immune landscape within the bladder can be altered during aging as aged mice develop bladder tertiary lymphoid tissues (bTLT), which are absent in young mice leading to profound age-associated change to the immune landscape in bladders that might drive the significant increase in UTI susceptibility. Knowledge of host factors that prevent or promote infection can lead to targeted treatment and prevention regimens. This review also identifies unique host factors to consider in the older, female host for improving rUTI treatment and prevention by dissecting the age-associated alteration of the bladder mucosal immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Aging
  • Autophagy
  • CXCL13
  • D-mannose
  • Estrogen
  • ROS
  • TNFα
  • Tertiary lymphoid tissue
  • Urinary tract infection


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