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

ng how and when these clonal expansions develop is a key focus of aging research.

The Trudeau team developed in a mouse model a sensitive new assay that allowed them to track the early development of these clonal expansions and test their impact on the ability of the mice to respond to re-infection. Their data show that the clonal composition of the virus-specific memory CD8+ T cell pool begins to change within months of the initial infection. These early clonal perturbations eventually result in large clonal expansions that have been associated with aging.

Importantly, most of these expanded clones are significantly impaired in their capacity to mount recall responses to secondary challenge in vivo. However, as re-infection promotes the expansion of the normal memory cells in the pool, this raises the possibility that booster vaccination regimes could overcome the increasingly dysregulated immune response in the elderly.

These data illustrate how experiments in mouse models can reveal fundamental principles that can be applied to human medicine. The abstract for the paper can be accessed at http://www.immunityageing.com/content/9/1/28/abstract.

About the Trudeau Institute
The Trudeau Institute is a nonprofit biomedical research center founded in 1884 by Dr. E.L. Trudeau. The Institute's fundamental research on immunity fosters the development of vaccines, treatments and cures for many life-threatening diseases, including cancer, tuberculosis and influenza. The Institute is supported by federal and state grants and contributions from individuals, private foundations and corporations. For further information about the Trudeau Institute, go to

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