An in vitro analogue of immune dysfunction with altered immunoglobulin production in the aged.
The consequences of aging of the immune system include impaired T-lymphocyte responsiveness and aberrant immunoglobulin production. Although T cells from elderly individuals have a well-described defect in lymphoblastic transformation in response to some polyclonal mitogens, immunoglobulin abnormalities have lacked a clear in vitro model. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 13 young and 13 old healthy donors were cultured with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) or pokeweed mitogen (PWM). Old-donor-cell phytohemagglutinin (PHA), but not PWM, cultures had significantly lower lymphoblastic transformation compared with young donor cultures. IgG, IgA, and IgM production tended to be lower in old- versus young-donor PWM cell cultures. By contrast, despite lower lymphoblastic transformation in old-donor PHA cell cultures, immunoglobulin production was higher for old- versus young-donor cell cultures. No significant age differences were present in initial lymphocyte counts, percent B cells, T cells or monocytes, or helper/suppressor ratios to explain this enhancement in immunoglobulin production. PHA-stimulated mononuclear cell cultures in the aged demonstrate not only a defect in proliferation but also increased immunoglobulin production. This in vitro system may be useful to characterize further the pathogenesis of altered immunoglobulin production in the elderly.
Crawford, J; Oates, S; Wolfe, LA; Cohen, HJ
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