Decreased in vitro humoral immune responses in aged humans

Savita G Pahwa, Rajendra Pahwa, R. A. Good

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Induction of antigen-specific and non-specific (polyclonal) humoral immune responses in vitro was investigated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of aged (65-85 yr) and young (20-30 yr) volunteers. In vitro immunization of lymphocytes with antigen (sheep erythrocytes) was performed in a recently described microculture system, and anti-sheep erythrocyte plaque forming cells were quantitated in a direct hemolytic plaque assay. Immunoglobulin secreting cells, induced polyclonally with pokeweed mitogen, were quantitated in a reverse hemolytic plaque assay. Significant depressions of antigen-specific as well as polyclonal responses were noted in relation to advancing age. Antigen-specific responses were more frequently depressed than polyclonal responses. T cell mitogen concanavalin A (Con A) was used to amplify functions of autologous immunoregulatory T cells. Addition of 10 μg/ml Con A to lymphocytes of young donors at culture initiation resulted in activation of suppressor cells and abrogated antigen-specific responses. Delayed addition of Con A, on the other hand, enhanced responses, presumably because of activation of helper T cells. Similar manipulations of lymphocyte cultures from aged donors showed failure of Con A to suppress antigen-specific responses in approximately half of the responders. In many nonresponders, responses within normal range were elicited by the delayed addition of Con A to their lymphocyte cultures. Deviations beyond the range of expected responses were noted in 32.5% of the co-cultures between pokeweed mitogen stimulated young and aged cells. Our findings suggest that age-related deficiencies of B cell function are frequently associated with dysfunction of immunoregulatory T cells and are only occasionally due to intrinsic defects of B cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1094-1102
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Volume67
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981
Externally publishedYes

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Humoral Immunity
Concanavalin A
Antigens
Lymphocytes
Pokeweed Mitogens
T-Lymphocytes
Sheep
B-Lymphocytes
Erythrocytes
Tissue Donors
Antibody-Producing Cells
Helper-Inducer T-Lymphocytes
Coculture Techniques
Mitogens
In Vitro Techniques
Volunteers
Immunization
Blood Cells
Reference Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Decreased in vitro humoral immune responses in aged humans. / Pahwa, Savita G; Pahwa, Rajendra; Good, R. A.

In: Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vol. 67, No. 4, 01.01.1981, p. 1094-1102.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pahwa, Savita G ; Pahwa, Rajendra ; Good, R. A. / Decreased in vitro humoral immune responses in aged humans. In: Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1981 ; Vol. 67, No. 4. pp. 1094-1102.
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