The Intersection of Aging Biology and the Pathobiology of Lung Diseases: A Joint NHLBI/NIA Workshop
Death from chronic lung disease is increasing and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has become the third leading cause of death in the United States in the past decade. Both chronic and acute lung diseases disproportionately affect elderly individuals, making it likely that these diseases will become more frequent and severe as the worldwide population ages. Chronic lung diseases are associated with substantial morbidity, frequently resulting in exercise limiting dyspnea, immobilization, and isolation. Therefore, effective strategies to prevent or treat lung disease are likely to increase healthspan as well as life span. This review summarizes the findings of a joint workshop sponsored by the NIA and NHLBI that brought together investigators focused on aging and lung biology. These investigators encouraged the use of genetic systems and aged animals in the study of lung disease and the development of integrative systems-based platforms that can dynamically incorporate data sets that describe the genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, metabolomics, and proteomics of the aging lung in health and disease. Further research was recommended to integrate benchmark biological hallmarks of aging in the lung with the pathobiology of acute and chronic lung diseases with divergent pathologies for which advanced age is the most important risk factor.