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ABSTRACT: Seasonal influenza causes more morbidity and mortality in older adults than in young adults, apparently because of a decline in immune function with increasing age, known as immunosenescence. In this study, we compared the capacity of dendritic cells (DCs) from healthy older adults (≥65 years) with DCs from healthy young adults (20-40 years) to initiate a T cell response against influenza. DCs from older adults were impaired in the induction of influenza-specific CD8+ T cells as compared to DCs from young adults, which was demonstrated by a decreased proliferation, an impaired production of IFN-γ and a reduced expression of the degranulation marker CD107a by CD8+ T cells. Importantly, DCs from older adults produced significantly less TNF-α, showed a decreased expression of HLA class I and had a lower maturation state after influenza virus infection. Supplementing TNF-α increased the expression of HLA class I and of maturation markers and enhanced the induction of the influenza-specific CD8+ T cell response. Together, these findings indicate that the impaired influenza-specific CD8+ T cell response in older adults is associated with a reduced production of TNF-α and with a lower DC maturation. We suggest that the production of TNF-α is a determining factor in the DC-mediated CD8+ T cell response against influenza.
Vaccine 02/2012; 30(9):1659-66. · 3.77 Impact Factor