Aging and immunity: decrease in interleukin-2 production and interleukin-2-dependent RNA-synthesis in lectin-stimulated and murine spleen cells
Joncourt, F.; Wang, Y.; Kristensen, F.; de Weck, A.L.
Immunobiology 163(5): 521-526
The RNA-content of G1 cells in lectin-stimulated spleen cell cultures of young and aged NMRI mice was determined by flow cytometry. In spleen cells of aged mice a preferential decrease of G1 cells with a high RNA-content, so-called G1b cells, was found. Since, as shown in a previous report, only cells with a high RNA-content are able to proliferate and the passage of low (G1a) to high (G1b) RNA-content is interleukin-2(IL-2)-dependent, the ability of young and old spleen cells to produce IL-2 was tested. In old spleen cells a diminished production of IL-2 was found. Addition of external IL-2, however, did not increase the proliferative capacity of old spleen cells, nor did it induce more G1b cells. Thus spleens of aged mice contain cells, which can be activated by lectin, but then fail to respond to IL-2. Both decrease in IL-2 production and receptivity for IL-2 may contribute to the diminishing immune response in aging individuals.