Homeostasis and function of regulatory T cells in aging.
ABSTRACT A hallmark of aging is the progressive deterioration of immune function. Age-related immune suppression increases susceptibility to infectious diseases and cancer, significant causes of morbidity and mortality in the elderly. In particular, age-related T cell dysfunction is a major contributor to 'immune-senescence'. Recently, it has become clear that the frequency of regulatory T cells (Treg) significantly increases in aged mice and humans. As Treg control the intensity of T cell responses, their accrual probably contributes to age-related immune dysfunction. This review will focus on mechanisms underlying Treg homeostasis and function in aging.
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ABSTRACT: Healthy aging requires an optimal balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory immune responses. Although CD4+ T cells play an essential role in many immune responses, few studies have directly assessed the effect of aging on the balance between effector T (Teff) cells and regulatory T (Treg) cells. Here, we determined if and how aging affects the ratio between Treg and Teff cells. Percentages of both naive Treg (nTreg; CD45RA+CD25intFOXP3low) and memory Treg (memTreg; CD45RA-CD25highFOXP3high) cells were determined by flow cytometry in peripheral blood samples of healthy individuals of various ages (20–84 years). Circulating Th1, Th2 and Th17 effector cells were identified by intracellular staining for IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-17, respectively, upon in vitro stimulation with PMA and calcium ionophore. Whereas proportions of nTreg cells declined with age, memTreg cells increased. Both Th1 and Th2 cells were largely maintained in the circulation of aged humans, whereas Th17 cells were decreased. Similar to memTreg cells, the 3 Teff subsets resided primarily in the memory CD4+ T cell compartment. Overall, Treg/Teff ratios were increased in the memory CD4+ T cell compartment of aged individuals when compared to that of young individuals. Finally, the relative increase of memTreg cells in elderly individuals was associated with poor responses to influenza vaccination. Taken together, our findings imply that aging disturbs the balance between Treg cells and Teff cells.Experimental Gerontology 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.exger.2014.11.005 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. The lack of clinical success in stroke therapies can be attributed, in part, to inadequate basic research on aging rodents. The current study demonstrates that recombinant TCR ligand therapy uses different immunological mechanisms to protect young and older mice from experimental stroke. In young mice, RTL1000 therapy inhibited splenocyte efflux while reducing frequency of T cells and macrophages in the spleen. Older mice treated with RTL1000 exhibited a significant reduction in inflammatory cells in the brain and inhibition of splenic atrophy. Our data suggest age specific differences in immune response to stroke that allow unique targeting of stroke immunotherapies.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 09/2014; 8. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2014.00284 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Low-grade inflammation, characterized by increased pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, is present in patients with obesity-linked insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia and considered to play a leading role to progression into type 2 diabetes (T2D). In adipose tissue in obese patients and in pancreatic islets in T2D patients cellular inflammation is present. However, the systemic leukocyte compartment and the circulating endothelial/precursor compartment in patients at risk to develop T2D has so far not been analyzed in detail. To address this, peripheral blood cells from a cohort of 20 subjects at risk to develop diabetes with normal to impaired glucose tolerance were analyzed by flow cytometry using a wide range of cellular markers and correlated to known metabolic risk factors for T2D i.e. fasting plasma glucose (FPG), 2 h plasma glucose (2 h PG), HbA1c, body mass index (BMI), homeostasis model assessment of β-cell function (HOMA-B), homeostasis model assessment of insulin sensitivity (HOMA-IS) and fasting insulin (FI). The four highest ranked cell markers for each risk factor were identified by random forest analysis. In the cohort, a significant negative correlation between the number of TLR4+ CD4 T cells and increased FPG was demonstrated. Similarly, with increased BMI the frequency of TLR4+ B cells was significantly decreased, as was the frequency of IL-21R+ CD4 T cells. Unlinked to metabolic risk factors, the frequency of regulatory T cells was reduced and TLR4+ CD4 T cells were increased with age. Taken together, in this small cohort of subjects at risk to develop T2D, a modulation of the circulating immune cell pool was demonstrated to correlate with risk factors like FPG and BMI. This may provide novel insights into the inflammatory mechanisms involved in the progression to diabetes in subjects at risk.PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e107140. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107140 · 3.53 Impact Factor