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Rejuvenation Res. 2008 Dec;11(6):1001-11. doi: 10.1089/rej.2008.0747.

Age-dependent signature of metallothionein expression in primary CD4 T cell responses is due to sustained zinc signaling.

Author information

1
Kathleen B and Mason I Lowance Center for Human Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Abstract

The ability to mount adaptive immune responses to vaccinations and viral infections declines with increasing age. To identify mechanisms leading to immunosenescence, primary CD4 T cell responses were examined in 60- to 75-year-old individuals lacking overt functional defects. Transcriptome analysis indicated a selective defect in zinc homeostasis. CD4 T cell activation was associated with zinc influx via the zinc transporter Zip6, leading to increased free cytoplasmic zinc and activation of negative feedback loops, including the induction of zinc-binding metallothioneins. In young adults, activation-induced cytoplasmic zinc concentrations declined after 2 days to below prestimulation levels. In contrast, activated naïve CD4 T cells from older individuals failed to downregulate cytoplasmic zinc, resulting in excessive induction of metallothioneins. Activation-induced metallothioneins regulated the redox state in activated T cells and accounted for an increased proliferation of old CD4 T cells, suggesting that regulation of T cell zinc homeostasis functions as a compensatory mechanism to preserve the replicative potential of naïve CD4 T cells with age.

PMID:
19072254
PMCID:
PMC2848531
DOI:
10.1089/rej.2008.0747
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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