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New Research Helps Explain Weakened Immune Response in Elderly
Date:1/8/2013

Saranac Lake, New York (PRWEB) January 08, 2013

Researchers from the Trudeau Institute have recently uncovered abnormal behavior in aging cells that helps explain the loss of previously acquired immunity. The findings were made available yesterday on the website of the online scientific journal Immunity & Ageing.

The paper, titled “Early dysregulation of the memory CD8+ T cell repertoire leads to compromised immune responses to secondary viral infection in the aged,” was authored by Lisa M. Connor, Jacob E. Kohlmeier, Lynn Ryan, Alan D. Roberts, Tres Cookenham, Adam A. Quinn, Marcia A. Blackman, and David L. Woodland. The new information should be helpful to immunologists working to develop improved vaccine protocols for elderly populations.

The research team focused on “memory” T-cells, a type of white blood cell that fights infection and tumor development. Memory T-cells generated following an infection have the capacity to “remember” the prior pathogen; upon secondary exposure, they typically respond with accelerated speed and strength.

A key question for researchers is how these memory T-cells can be maintained into old age. It is well known that the memory pool becomes progressively dysregulated with age, such that large expansions of identical cells (or clones) occur in the elderly. These “clonal expansions” are found in most individuals and are thought to contribute to age-associated immune dysfunction.

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