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Age-dependent changes in innate immune phenotype and function in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Author(s): Mark Asquith | Kristen Haberthur | Monica Brown | Flora Engelmann | Ashleigh Murphy | Zainab Al-Mahdi | Ilhem Messaoudi

Journal: Pathobiology of Aging & Age-related Diseases
ISSN 2001-0001

Volume: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: nonhuman primate | innate immunity | myeloid | immune senscence | pattern recognition recepto

Aged individuals are more susceptible to infections due to a general decline in immune function broadly referred to as immune senescence. While age-related changes in the adaptive immune system are well documented, aging of the innate immune system remains less well understood, particularly in nonhuman primates. A more robust understanding of age-related changes in innate immune function would provide mechanistic insight into the increased susceptibility of the elderly to infection. Rhesus macaques have proved a critical translational model for aging research, and present a unique opportunity to dissect age-dependent modulation of the innate immune system. We examined age-related changes in: (i) innate immune cell frequencies; (ii) expression of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and innate signaling molecules; (iii) cytokine responses of monocytes and dendritic cells (DC) following stimulation with PRR agonists; and (iv) plasma cytokine levels in this model. We found marked changes in both the phenotype and function of innate immune cells. This included an age-associated increased frequency of myeloid DC (mDC). Moreover, we found toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists lipopolysaccharide (TLR4), fibroblast stimulating ligand-1 (TLR2/6), and ODN2006 (TLR7/9) induced reduced cytokine responses in aged mDC. Interestingly, with the exception of the monocyte-derived TNFα response to LPS, which increased with age, TNFα, IL-6, and IFNα responses declined with age. We also found that TLR4, TLR5, and innate negative regulator, sterile alpha and TIR motif containing protein (SARM), were all expressed at lower levels in young animals. By contrast, absent in melanoma 2 and retinoic acid-inducible gene I expression was lowest in aged animals. Together, these observations indicate that several parameters of innate immunity are significantly modulated by age and contribute to differential immune function in aged macaques.
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