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Prolonged Graft Survival in Older Recipient Mice Is Determined by Impaired Effector T-Cell but Intact Regulatory T-Cell Responses

Authors
Journal
PLoS ONE
1932-6203
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Volume
5
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009232
Keywords
  • Research Article
  • Immunology/Immune Response
  • Immunology/Leukocyte Activation
  • Surgery/Transplantation
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Elderly organ transplant recipients represent a fast growing segment of patients on the waiting list. We examined age-dependent CD4+ T-cell functions in a wild-type (WT) and a transgenic mouse transplant model and analyzed the suppressive function of old regulatory T-cells. We found that splenocytes of naïve old B6 mice contained significantly higher frequencies of T-cells with an effector/memory phenotype (CD4+CD44highCD62Llow). However, in-vitro proliferation (MLR) and IFNγ-production (ELISPOT) were markedly reduced with increasing age. Likewise, skin graft rejection was significantly delayed in older recipients and fewer graft infiltrating CD4+T-cells were observed. Old CD4+ T-cells demonstrated a significant impaired responsiveness as indicated by diminished proliferation and activation. In contrast, old alloantigen-specific CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T-cells demonstrated a dose-dependent well-preserved suppressor function. Next, we examined characteristics of 18-month old alloreactive T-cells in a transgenic adoptive transfer model. Adoptively transferred old T-cells proliferated significantly less in response to antigen. Skin graft rejection was significantly delayed in older recipients, and graft infiltrating cells were reduced. In summary, advanced recipient age was associated with delayed acute rejection and impaired CD4+ T-cell function and proliferation while CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T-cells (Tregs) showed a well-preserved function.

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