Decreased immune functions have been suggested as a cause for the increased incidence of autoimmunity, malignancy, and infection in the elderly population. To assess the possible role of changes in macrophage function in the aging process we studied the Fc receptor- mediated clearance of IgG-coated erythrocytes in 56 healthy normal volunteers by following the removal of radiolabeled autologous erythrocytes. An age-related decrease in Fc-mediated clearance rates in both female and male subjects was found, which suggests a physiological decline of this macrophage function in older individuals.

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