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Age-related changes in spleen of Dark Agouti rats immunized for experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

By Jasmina Đikić, Mirjana Nacka-Aleksić, Ivan Pilipović, Duško Kosec, Nevena Arsenović-Ranin, Zorica Stojić-Vukanić, Mirjana Dimitrijević and Gordana Leposavić


The study was undertaken considering age-related changes in susceptibility to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and a putative role of spleen in pathogenesis of this disease. The phenotypic and functional characteristics of T splenocytes were examined in young (3-month-old), middle-aged (8-month-old) and aged (26-month-old) Dark Agouti rats immunized for EAE with rat spinal cord in complete Freund's adjuvant The rat susceptibility to EAE induction, as well as the number of activated CD4+CD134+ lymphocytes retrieved from their spinal cords progressively decreased with aging. To the contrary, in rats immunized for EAE the number of activated CD4+ splenocytes, i.e., CD4+CD134+, CD4+CD25+FoxP3 and CD4+CD40L+ cells, progressively increased with aging. This was associated with age-related increase in (i) CD4+ splenocyte surface expression of CD44, the molecule suggested to be involved in limiting emigration of encephalitogenic CD4+ cells from spleen into blood and (ii) frequency of regulatory T cells, including CD4+CD25+FoxP3 + cells, which are also shown to control encephalitogenic cell migration from spleen into the central nervous system. In favor of expansion of T-regulatory cell pool in aged rats was the greater concentration of IL-10 in unstimulated, Concanavalin A (ConA)- and myelin basic protein (MBP)-stimulated splenocyte cultures from aged rats compared with the corresponding cultures from young ones. Consistent with the age-related increase in the expression of CD44, which is shown to favor Th1 effector cell survival by interfering with CD95-mediated signaling, the frequency of apoptotic cells among CD4+ splenocytes, despite the greater frequency of CD95+ cells, was diminished in splenocyte cultures from aged compared with young rats. In addition, in control, as well as in ConA-and MBP-stimulated splenocyte cultures from aged rats, despite of impaired CD4+ cell proliferation, IFN-gamma concentrations were greater than in corresponding cultures from young rats. This most likely reflected increased abundance of IFN-gamma-producing cells in splenocyte cultures from aged compared with young rats. The diminished CD4+ cell proliferation in response to ConA and MBP in splenocyte cultures from aged compared with young rats could be, at least partly, associated with an enhanced splenic expression of iNOS mRNA in aged rats. Thus, the study suggests that age-associated changes leading to entrapping of activated CD4+ cells in the spleen could contribute to the restriction in development of EAE in aged rats

Topics: Aging, EAE, Spleen, CD44, Regulatory cells
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2014.12.014
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