Effect of age on the gastrointestinal-associated mucosal immune response of humans

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2001-05-01

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Gerontological Society Amer

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Age-related changes in gastrointestinal-associated mucosal immune response have not been well studied. Thus, we investigated the effect of age on this response and compared these responses to those of peripheral immune cells. Saliva, blood, and intestinal biopsies were collected from young and old healthy subjects to determine immunoglobulin (Ig) levels and to isolate peripheral blood mononuclear cells, intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs), and lamina propria lymphocytes (LPLs). Although subject age did not influence the level of total IgA found in saliva, IgA levels in serum increased (p < .05) with age. Older subjects' peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation and IL-2 production were significantly lower than those of young subjects. LPLs from older subjects produced significantly less IL-2 in response to all stimuli than did that from the young. IEL's ability to proliferate and produce IL-2 was not affected by subject age. Thus, LPL but not IEL demonstrated an age-related decline in immune function similar to that seen in peripheral lymphocytes.

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Journals of Gerontology Series A-biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. Washington: Gerontological Society Amer, v. 56, n. 5, p. B218-B223, 2001.

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