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Elderly might not benefit from TB vaccines in development
Date:9/20/2010

ng this molecule. They aged some of these mice for 18 months equivalent to about 65 in human years and compared these old mice to young mice with the same genetic modification.

"This time, we showed there was a difference. The immune system in the old mice worked, but it didn't use the TLR-2 receptor," said Turner, also an investigator in Ohio State's Center for Microbial Interface Biology. "Young mice without TLR-2 lost 80 percent of their immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but old mice didn't lose any response at all."

From there, the researchers blocked two other receptors, one associated with TB and another connected to recognition of other bacteria. Blocking them alone or in combination did not influence the way the immune systems in old mice recognized Mycobacterium tuberculosis. There are 13 known toll-like receptors on macrophages, but the researchers initially worked with TLR-4 and TLR-9 because their functions are known and can be blocked.

"We think the cells in the old mice might be using multiple TLRs to send their signals," Turner said. "We don't know yet whether this receptor interaction changes how the bacteria are processed within the cell. It might be that the bacteria go to a different location in the cells of old mice, to a place where the immune system can't respond so well which might be why old people are more susceptible to TB infection."

Turner plans to investigate some or all of those 10 other toll-like receptors to determine their roles in helping lung cells in old mice identify and fight Mycobacterium tuberculosis.


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Contact: Joanne Turner
joanne.turner@osumc.edu
614-292-6724
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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