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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2005 Dec 15;108(3-4):399-407. Epub 2005 Aug 18.

Age-related alterations to immune parameters in Labrador retriever dogs.

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WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, Freeby Lane, Waltham-on-the-Wolds, Leicestershire LE14 4RT, UK.


In order to assess age-related changes in the immune status of Labrador retriever dogs, leukocyte phenotypes, lymphocyte proliferative capacity, and serum antibody levels were measured in four cohorts of dogs, ranging from 2 to 10 years of age. Absolute numbers of white blood cells, lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes, and CD3+, CD4+, CD8+ and CD21+ lymphocytes significantly decreased with increasing age. Relative percentages of lymphocytes and CD4 cells were significantly decreased, and relative percentages of granulocytes and CD8 cells significantly increased, with age. The CD4:CD8 ratio showed a significant age-related decrease. Proliferative responses of T-cells to mitogens in whole-blood cultures either increased (Concanavalin A) or remained the same (phytohemagglutinin) with age when data was normalised to allow for differences in responding cell number. Similarly, normalised data of proliferative response to anti-CD3 stimulation together with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate showed an age-related increase. Serum levels of total IgA significantly increased with age whereas total IgG levels remained unchanged. These observations illustrate a significant change to a number of immune parameters with age. However, further work is required to determine whether the differences reported here are sufficient to cause overt or functional immune senescence in Labrador retriever dogs.

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