Vaccine-induced ICOS+CD38+ circulating Tfh are sensitive biosensors of age-related changes in inflammatory pathways.
Humoral immune responses are dysregulated with aging, but the cellular and molecular pathways involved remain incompletely understood. In particular, little is known about the effects of aging on T follicular helper (Tfh) CD4 cells, the key cells that provide help to B cells for effective humoral immunity. We performed transcriptional profiling and cellular analysis on circulating Tfh before and after influenza vaccination in young and elderly adults. First, whole-blood transcriptional profiling shows that ICOS+CD38+ cTfh following vaccination preferentially enriches in gene sets associated with youth versus aging compared to other circulating T cell types. Second, vaccine-induced ICOS+CD38+ cTfh from the elderly had increased the expression of genes associated with inflammation, including tumor necrosis factor-nuclear factor κB (TNF-NF-κB) pathway activation. Finally, vaccine-induced ICOS+CD38+ cTfh display strong enrichment for signatures of underlying age-associated biological changes. These data highlight the ability to use vaccine-induced cTfh as cellular "biosensors" of underlying inflammatory and/or overall immune health.
Herati, RS; Silva, LV; Vella, LA; Muselman, A; Alanio, C; Bengsch, B; Kurupati, RK; Kannan, S; Manne, S; Kossenkov, AV; Canaday, DH; Doyle, SA; Ertl, HCJ; Schmader, KE; Wherry, EJ
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