Aging is associated with a rapid decline in frequency, alterations in subset composition, and enhanced Th2 response in CD1d-restricted NKT cells from human peripheral blood.
NKT cells are important for initiating and regulating immune responses. We investigated the age-related changes in the CD1d-restricted semi-invariant NKT (iNKT) cells in peripheral blood of healthy adults. The iNKT cell frequency was 2.5- to 10.7-fold less in healthy elderly subjects (61 years and over) compared to the healthy young subjects (20-40 years, p<0.001). This age-related decline in iNKT cells was observed both in freshly isolated PBMC and in cultures where iNKT cells were enriched by alpha-GalCer stimulation using either the Valpha24/Vbeta11 TCR antibody pair or the CD1d-tetramer as the iNKT cell marker. The decline in frequency was associated with an alteration in the iNKT cell subset compositions: an increase in the proportion of CD4+ subset and a decrease in the proportion of CD4/CD8 double-negative (DN) subset. The age-related decline in iNKT cells and changes in subset composition were independent from the age-related changes of conventional T cells/T cell subsets. Additionally, there was a Th1 to Th2 shift in the cytokine response profile from iNKT cells with aging. We conclude that aging is associated with a significant decline in iNKT cell frequency in peripheral blood, accompanied with alterations in subset composition and cytokine response profile.
Jing, Y; Gravenstein, S; Chaganty, NR; Chen, N; Lyerly, KH; Joyce, S; Deng, Y
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