Enhanced differentiation of splenic plasma cells but diminished long-lived high-affinity bone marrow plasma cells in aged mice.
In the present work, we have dissected the mechanisms responsible for the impaired humoral responses in aging. We found that there was a substantially higher level of Ab-forming cells in the spleens of aged mice than that of young controls. However, the number of high-affinity, class-switched Ab-forming cells was severely decreased in the spleen of aged mice. The accumulation of low-affinity IgM Ab-forming cells in the spleens of aged animals was not due to a deficiency in isotype switching because the number of total IgG1 splenic plasma cells was not significantly reduced. Remarkably, plasma cells of both low and high affinity were significantly diminished in the bone marrow of aged mice compared with that of young mice. The results from reconstitution experiments showed that aged bone marrow was less supportive for plasma cells derived from young splenic B cells. These findings suggest that humoral immune deficiency in aging results from at least two mechanisms: the inability to generate sufficient numbers of high-affinity Ab-forming cells, which is a result of diminished germinal center reaction, and the defective bone marrow environment that has diminished ability to support the selection and survival of long-term Ab-forming cells.
Han, S; Yang, K; Ozen, Z; Peng, W; Marinova, E; Kelsoe, G; Zheng, B
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