Navigation Links
Pitt/UPMC: Exceptional cognitive and physical health in old age leaves immunological fingerprint

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 20 Exceptional cognitive and physical function in old age leaves a tell-tale immunologic fingerprint, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Likewise, older adults who have mild impairments bear a distinct immunologic pattern, too, according to findings published today in the Public Library of Science: One.

Old age is not synonymous with impairment and disability, noted lead investigator Abbe N. de Vallejo, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics and immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"Our study indicates that getting older does not necessarily mean that the immune system gets weaker, as many of us assumed," he said. "The immune system is dynamic, and the changes it undergoes over time very much influence function."

For the project, the team collected blood samples from 140 participants who had been followed in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) for nearly two decades and were 78 to 94 years old. With only two participants younger than 82, the average age of the group was 86. The team also gathered information about the participants' health and function, medical history and hospitalizations, and self-rated health, and assessed their cognitive and physical function using standard tests.

Previous research has shown that with age, immune cells called T-cells become more like natural killer (NK) cells, which typically target tumor cells and virus-infected cells, Dr. de Vallejo said. A closer look in the new study shows that participants who were most physically and cognitively resilient had a dominant pattern of stimulatory NK receptors on the T-cell surface, and that these unusual T-cells can be activated directly through these NK receptors independently of the conventional ones. The functionally resilient elders also have a distinct profile of blood proteins called cytokines that reflect an immune-enhancing environment.

Conversely, the group that showed mild health impairment had a dominant pattern of inhibitory NK receptors on their T-cells, and they have a cytokine profile indicating a pro-inflammatory environment. Both of these immunologic features could suggest a greater susceptibility to illness.

"These findings indicate that there is remodeling or adaptation of the immune system as we age that can be either protective or detrimental," Dr. de Vallejo said. "Now we have an immunological fingerprint that can identify individuals who are more likely to stay physically and cognitively well."

He and his colleagues are now studying factors, such as genetics or traits developed during childhood that might influence the adaptation of the immune system with advancing age.


Contact: Anita Srikameswaran
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Related biology news :

1. Wide heads give hammerheads exceptional stereo view
2. New research explains autistics exceptional visual abilities
3. Research finds older women who are more physically fit have better cognitive function
4. Results from trials of DHA in Alzheimers disease and age-related cognitive decline
5. A heart healthy diet and ongoing, moderate physical activity may protect against cognitive decline
6. Supplementing babies formula with DHA boosts cognitive development
7. WIREs: Shaping the future of cognitive science
8. Fighting sleep, Penn researchers reverse the cognitive impairment caused by sleep deprivation
9. Consumption of certain fish during pregnancy associated with poorer cognitive performance
10. New study possibly links cognitive and motor delays with flat head syndrome in young babies
11. A common thread links multiple human cognitive disorders
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... on the growing mobile commerce market and creator ... a leading marketplace to discover and buy innovative ... wallet on StackSocial for this holiday season.   ... "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on the ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... India , October 26, 2015 ... --> adds ... 2015 to 2021 as well as ... 2015-2019 research reports to its collection ... . --> ...
(Date:10/22/2015)... BEDFORD, Mass., Oct. 22, 2015  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ... financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2015.  ... third quarter of 2015 was $4.0 million, a decrease of 33% ... income in the third quarter of 2015 was $2.2 million, or ... per diluted share, in the same period a year ago.  ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  PDL BioPharma, Inc. (PDL) (NASDAQ: PDLI ) ... president and chief executive officer, will present at the 27 ... New York City . The presentation will ... 2015 at 9:30 a.m. EST. and ... at least 15 minutes prior to the presentation to allow ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... CHICAGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Women with ... screening CT exams face a higher risk of lung cancer ... being presented next week at the annual meeting of the ... --> --> Lung ... are classified as solid or subsolid based on their appearance ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... VA (PRWEB) , ... November 23, 2015 , ... Noblis, ... McCarthy , former Director, Plans and Programs, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), has joined ... us with an incredibly distinguished career in the intelligence community and the private sector,” ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... 2015  CryoLife, Inc. (NYSE: CRY ), a leading ... vascular surgery, announced today that it will participate in the ... Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at The New York Palace Hotel ... Pat Mackin , President and Chief Executive Officer. ... --> A live webcast of the Company,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: