Adults 65 years old and older have reduced numbers of functional memory T cells to respiratory syncytial virus fusion protein.

Cherukuri A, Patton K, Gasser RA Jr, Zuo F, Woo J, Esser MT, Tang RS.
Journal   Clin Vaccine Immunol.
Analytes Measured  
Matrix Tested   Nasal wash samples
Year   2013
Volume   20
Page Numbers   239-247
Application   Immunogenicity
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects elderly (≥65 years) adults, causing medically attended illness and hospitalizations. While RSV neutralizing antibody levels correlate inversely with RSV-associated hospitalization in the elderly, the role of RSV-specific T cells in preventing disease in the elderly remains unclear. We examined RSV-specific humoral, mucosal, and cellular immune profiles in healthy elderly (65 to 85 years) and young (20 to 30 years) adults. RSV neutralization antibody titers in the elderly (10.5 ± 2.2 log(2)) and young (10.5 ± 2.1 log(2)) were similar. In contrast, levels of RSV F protein-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-producing T cells were lower in elderly (180 ± 80 spot-forming cells [SFC]/10(6) peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMC]) than in young adults (1,250 ± 420 SFC/10(6) PBMC). Higher levels of interleukin-13 (IL-13; 3,000 ± 1,000 pg/ml) in cultured PBMC supernatants and lower frequency of RSV F-specific CD107a(+) CD8(+) T cells (3.0% ± 1.6% versus 5.0% ± 1.6%) were measured in PBMC from elderly than young adults. These results suggest that deficient RSV F-specific T cell responses contribute to susceptibility to severe RSV disease in elderly adults.

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