Impact of sex steroid ablation on viral, tumour and vaccine responses in aged mice

Tracy SP Heng, Jessica J Reiseger, Anne L Fletcher, Graham R Leggatt, Olivia J White, Katerina Vlahos, Ian H Frazer, Stephen J Turner, Richard L Boyd

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Recent evidence suggests that the decline in resistance to viral infections with age occurs predominantly as a result of a gradual loss of naive antigen-specific T cells. As such, restoration of the naive T cell repertoire to levels seen in young healthy adults may improve defence against infection in the aged. We have previously shown that sex steroid ablation (SSA) rejuvenates the ageing thymus and increases thymic export of naive T cells, but it remains unclear whether T cell responses are improved. Using mouse models of clinically relevant diseases, we now demonstrate that SSA increases the number of naive T cells able to respond to antigen, thereby enhancing effector responses in aged mice. Specifically, aged mice exhibit a delay in clearing influenza A virus, which correlates with diminished specific cytotoxic activity. This is due to a decreased magnitude of response and not an intrinsic defect in effector T cell function. Upon SSA, aged mice exhibit increased T cell responsiveness that restores efficient viral clearance. We further demonstrate that SSA decreases the incidence of an inducible tumour in aged mice and can potentially increase their responsiveness to a low-dose human papillomavirus vaccine in clearing pre-formed tumours. As thymectomy abrogates the increase in T cell numbers and responsiveness following SSA, we propose that the T cell effects of SSA are dependent on thymic reactivation and subsequent replenishment of the peripheral T cell pool with newly emigrated naive T cells. These findings have important implications for strategies to improve protection from infection and responsiveness to vaccination in the aged.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere42677
    Number of pages11
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Volume7
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Cite this

    Heng, Tracy SP ; Reiseger, Jessica J ; Fletcher, Anne L ; Leggatt, Graham R ; White, Olivia J ; Vlahos, Katerina ; Frazer, Ian H ; Turner, Stephen J ; Boyd, Richard L. / Impact of sex steroid ablation on viral, tumour and vaccine responses in aged mice. In: PLoS ONE. 2012 ; Vol. 7, No. 8.
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    abstract = "Recent evidence suggests that the decline in resistance to viral infections with age occurs predominantly as a result of a gradual loss of naive antigen-specific T cells. As such, restoration of the naive T cell repertoire to levels seen in young healthy adults may improve defence against infection in the aged. We have previously shown that sex steroid ablation (SSA) rejuvenates the ageing thymus and increases thymic export of naive T cells, but it remains unclear whether T cell responses are improved. Using mouse models of clinically relevant diseases, we now demonstrate that SSA increases the number of naive T cells able to respond to antigen, thereby enhancing effector responses in aged mice. Specifically, aged mice exhibit a delay in clearing influenza A virus, which correlates with diminished specific cytotoxic activity. This is due to a decreased magnitude of response and not an intrinsic defect in effector T cell function. Upon SSA, aged mice exhibit increased T cell responsiveness that restores efficient viral clearance. We further demonstrate that SSA decreases the incidence of an inducible tumour in aged mice and can potentially increase their responsiveness to a low-dose human papillomavirus vaccine in clearing pre-formed tumours. As thymectomy abrogates the increase in T cell numbers and responsiveness following SSA, we propose that the T cell effects of SSA are dependent on thymic reactivation and subsequent replenishment of the peripheral T cell pool with newly emigrated naive T cells. These findings have important implications for strategies to improve protection from infection and responsiveness to vaccination in the aged.",
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    Impact of sex steroid ablation on viral, tumour and vaccine responses in aged mice. / Heng, Tracy SP; Reiseger, Jessica J; Fletcher, Anne L; Leggatt, Graham R; White, Olivia J; Vlahos, Katerina; Frazer, Ian H; Turner, Stephen J; Boyd, Richard L.

    In: PLoS ONE, Vol. 7, No. 8, e42677, 2012.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    AU - Heng, Tracy SP

    AU - Reiseger, Jessica J

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    AU - White, Olivia J

    AU - Vlahos, Katerina

    AU - Frazer, Ian H

    AU - Turner, Stephen J

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