Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jan 2015

CMV and Aging, Immunosenescence, NK Cell Activator, Nicotinamide Riboside and A4M

CMV and Aging, Immunosenescence, NK Cell Activator, Nicotinamide Riboside and A4M

By Life Extension.

Cytomegalovirus infection is associated with increased mortality in the older population.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common herpesvirus infection and stimulates the expansion of very large numbers of CMV-specific T cells that reduce the CD4/CD8 ratio and suppress the number of naïve T cells. CMV infection has been associated with frailty and impaired survival. We investigated the correlates of CMV and the impact of the CMV infection on mortality within a cohort of 511 individuals aged at least 65 years who were followed up for 18 years. The mean age of the participants was 74 years of which 70% were CMV-seropositive. CMV was strongly linked to socio-economic status, and CMV infection increased the annual mortality rate by 42% (Hazard ratio = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.11-1.76 after adjusting for age, sex and baseline socio-economic and health variables) corresponding to 3.7 years lower life expectancy from age 65. Infection was associated with a near doubling of cardiovascular deaths, whereas there was no increase in mortality from other causes. These results show that CMV infection markedly increases the mortality rate in healthy older individuals due to an excess of vascular deaths. These findings may have significant implications for the study of immune senescence and if confirmed more generally could have important implications for measures to optimize the health of the elderly.

Aging Cell . 2013 Jun;12(3):381-7

Cytomegalovirus infection and risk of alzheimer disease in older black and white Individuals.

BACKGROUND: Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is prevalent in older adults and has been implicated in many chronic diseases of aging. This study investigated the relation between CMV and the risk of Alzheimer disease (AD). METHODS: Data come from 3 cohort studies that included 849 participants (mean age [±SD], 78.6 ± 7.2 years; mean education duration [±SD], 15.4 ± 3.3 years; 25% black). RESULTS: A solid-phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used for detecting type-specific immunoglobulin G antibody responses to CMV and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) measured in archived serum samples. Of 849 participants, 73.4% had serologic evidence of exposure to CMV (89.0% black and 68.2% white; P < .001). During an average of 5.0 years of follow-up, 93 persons developed AD. CMV seropositivity was associated with an increased risk of AD (relative risk, 2.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-3.27) and a faster rate of decline in global cognition (estimate [±standard error], -0.02 ± 0.01; P = .03) in models that controlled for age, sex, education duration, race, vascular risk factors, vascular diseases, and apolipoprotein e4 level. Results were similar in black and white individuals for both incident AD and change in cognitive function and were independent of HSV-1 status. CONCLUSIONS:  These results suggest that CMV infection is associated with anincreased risk of AD and a faster rate of cognitive decline in older diverse populations.

J Infect Dis. 2014 Aug 8

The impact of ageing on natural killer cell function and potential consequences for health in older adults.

Forming the first line of defence against virally infected and malignant cells, natural killer (NK) cells are critical effector cells of the innate immune system. With age, significant impairments have been reported in the two main mechanisms by which NK cells confer host protection: direct cytotoxicity and the secretion of immunoregulatory cytokines and chemokines. In elderly subjects, decreased NK cell activity has been shown to be associated with an increased incidence and severity of viral infection, highlighting the clinical implications that age-associated changes in NK cell biology have on the health of older adults. However, is an increased susceptibility to viral infection the only consequence of these age-related changes in NK cell function? Recently, evidence has emerged that has shown that in addition to eliminating transformed cells, NK cells are involved in many other biological processes such as immune regulation, anti-microbial immune responses and the recognition and elimination of senescent cells, novel functions that involve NK-mediated cytotoxicity and/or cytokine production. Thus, the decrease in NK cell function that accompanies physiological ageing is likely to have wider implications for the health of older adults than originally thought. Here, we give a detailed description of the changes in NK cell biology that accompany human ageing and propose that certain features of the ageing process such as: (i) the increased reactivation rates of latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis, (ii) the slower resolution of inflammatory responses and (iii) the increased incidence of bacterial and fungal infection are attributable in part to an age-associated decline in NK cell function.

Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Sep;12(4):1069-78

Cytomegalovirus is associated with reduced telomerase activity in the Whitehall II cohort.

Telomere length and telomerase activity have received increased attention as markers of cellular aging, but the determinants of inter-individual variation in these markers are incompletely understood. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection may be particularly important for telomere and telomerase dynamics due to its dramatic impact on peripheral blood lymphocyte composition, i.e., increasing the number and proportions of highly differentiated T cells that are characterized by shorter telomere length (TL) and lowered telomerase activity (TA). However, the possible relationship between CMV infection and leukocyte TL and TA has not been well-examined in vivo. This study examined the associations of CMV seropositivity and CMV IgG antibodies with leukocyte (TL) and (TA) in a sample of 434 healthy individuals (ages 53-76) from the Whitehall II cohort. Positive CMV serostatus was significantly associated with lower TA among women, and higher CMV IgG antibody levels were associated with lower TA in the overall sample. However, neither CMV seropositivity nor CMV IgG antibody levels (reflecting subclinical reactivation) among the seropositive were significantly associated with TL. These associations were robust to adjustment for age, employment grade, BMI, and smoking status. The results demonstrate that CMV seropositivity and subclinical reactivation predict lower TA. Future longitudinal studies should test whether the association of CMV with lower TA contributes to accelerated telomere shortening over time.

Exp Gerontol. 2013 Apr;48(4):385-90

Cytomegalovirus contributes partly to uraemia-associated premature immunological ageing of the T cell compartment.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection has been implicated in accelerated T cell ageing. End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients have a severely immunologically aged T cell compartment but also a high prevalence of CMV infection. We investigated whether CMV infection contributes to T cell ageing in ESRD patients. We determined the thymic output by the T cell receptor excision circle (TREC) content and percentage of CD31+ naïve T cells. The proliferative history of the T cell compartment by determination of the relative telomere length (RTL) and the T cell differentiation status was determined by immunophenotyping. It appeared that CMV infection did not affect thymic output but reduced RTL of CD8+ T cells in ESRD patients. Moreover, increased T cell differentiation was observed with higher percentages of CD57+ and CD28null CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cells. These CD28null T cells had significantly shorter telomeres compared to CD28+ T cells. Therefore we concluded that CMV infection does not affect the decreased thymic output but increases T cell differentiation as observed in ESRD-related premature T cell ageing.

Clin Exp Immunol. 2013 Dec;174(3):424-32

Immune senescence: relative contributions of age and cytomegalovirus infection.

Immune senescence, defined as the age-associated dysregulation and dysfunction of the immune system, is characterised by impaired protective immunity and decreased efficacy of vaccines. Recent clinical, epidemiological and immunological studies suggest that Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection may be associated with accelerated immune senescence, possibly by restricting the naïve T cell repertoire. However, direct evidence whether and how CMV-infection is implicated in immune senescence is still lacking. In this study, we have investigated whether latent mouse CMV (MCMV) infection with or without thymectomy (Tx) alters antiviral immunity of young and aged mice. After infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) or Vaccinia virus, specific antiviral T cell responses were significantly reduced in old, old MCMV-infected and/or Tx mice compared to young mice. Importantly, control of LCMV replication was more profoundly impaired in aged MCMV-infected mice compared to age-matched MCMV-naïve or young mice. In addition, latent MCMV infection was associated with slightly reduced vaccination efficacy in old Tx mice. In contrast to the prevailing hypothesis of a CMV-mediated restriction of the naïve T cell repertoire, we found similar naïve T cell numbers in MCMV-infected and non-infected mice, whereas ageing and Tx clearly reduced the naïve T cell pool. Instead, MCMV-infection expanded the total CD8(+) T cell pool by a massive accumulation of effector memory T cells. Based on these results, we propose a new model of increased competition between CMV-specific memory T cells and any ‘de novo’ immune response in aged individuals. In summary, our results directly demonstrate in a mouse model that latent CMV-infection impairs immunity in old age and propagates immune senescence.

PLoS Pathog. 2012;8(8):e1002850

Human cytomegalovirus infection levels in glioblastoma multiforme are of prognostic value for survival.

BACKGROUND: Patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) generally live 12-15 months after diagnosis, despite maximal surgical resection, adjuvant radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. HCMV has been detected in 90-100% of GBMs. We recently found that low grade HCMV infection in GBM tumours was highly associated with survival over 18 months (case-control study). Here, we sought to determine whether low-grade HCMV infection in GBMs is associated with prolonged survival in a consecutive patient cohort, analysed retrospectively. STUDY DESIGN: Tumour samples from 75 consecutive GBM patients treated surgically at Karolinska University Hospital in 2004-2005 were examined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization for HCMV proteins and DNA, respectively. Tumours were graded 1-4, depending on the percentage of positive cells by IHC. Low-grade HCMV was defined as grade 1 (< 25% of HCMV infected tumour cells). Time to tumour progression (TTP) and survival data were analysed with Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier models. RESULTS: HCMV infection was detected in 74 of 75 tumours (99%). In patients with low-grade HCMV infection, median survival was 20 months longer than in patients with high-grade infections (P = 0.036, HR: 2.2), and TTP was 8 months longer (P = 0.1, HR: 1.8). Two-year survival was much higher in patients with low-grade HCMV infection (63.6% vs. 17.2%, P = 0.003). CONCLUSION: The longer survival in patients whose tumours had low-grade HCMV infection suggests that the level of HCMV infection in GBMs has a prognostic value and that HCMV may contribute to the pathogenesis of GBM.

J Clin Virol. 2013 May;57(1):36-42

Increased risk of serious non-AIDS-related events in HIV-infected subjects on antiretroviral therapy associated with a low CD4/CD8 ratio.

BACKGROUND: A low CD4/CD8 ratio has been identified in the general population as a hallmark of inmmunosenescence and a surrogate of all-cause mortality. We aimed to investigate in treated HIV-infected individuals the relationship between the CD4/CD8 ratio and serious non-AIDS events. METHODS: Case-control study within a prospective hospital-based cohort of HIV-infected subjects during at least one year of ART-mediated viral suppression. Cases were patients with serious non-AIDS events (non-AIDS malignancies, cardiovascular disease, and end-stage kidney disease), and controls individuals who did not developed non-AIDS events during follow-up. Data were analyzed using ROC analysis and multivariate logistic regression. Conditional logistic regression was performed in 200 cases/controls matched by age, sex, nadir CD4 and proximal CD4 counts. RESULTS: We analyzed 407 subjects (109 cases, 298 controls). The CD4/CD8 ratio was lower in cases (0.44 vs. 0.70, P<0.0001), with higher discriminatory ability for the detection of non-AIDS events than the CD4 count, CD8 count and nadir CD4. Multivariate analyses (adjusted for age, sex, nadir CD4, proximal CD4 count, year of ART initiation and ART duration) confirmed the independent association of a low CD4/CD8 ratio with the risk of non-AIDS morbidity (per CD4/CD8 ratio quartile decrease, OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.3-6.2) and non-AIDS mortality (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.5-5.3). CONCLUSIONS: The CD4/CD8 ratio provides additional information to the CD4 counts and nadir CD4 in treated HIV-infected individuals, since it is independently associated with the risk of non-AIDS-related morbidity and mortality. This association is robust and maintained within different subgroups of patients.

PLoS One. 2014 Jan 30;9(1):e85798

The impact of aging on regulatory T-cells.

Age-related deviations of the immune system contribute to a higher likelihood of infections, cancer, and autoimmunity in the elderly. Senescence of T-lymphocytes is characterized by phenotypical and functional changes including the loss of characteristic T-cell surface markers, while an increase of stimulatory receptors, cytotoxicity as well as resistance against apoptosis is observed. One of the key mediators of immune regulation are naturally occurring regulatory T-cells (Tregs). Tregs express high levels of CD25 and the intracellular protein forkhead box P3; they exert their suppressive functions in contact-dependent as well as contact-independent manners. Quantitative and qualitative defects of Tregs were observed in patients with autoimmune diseases. Increased Treg activity was shown to suppress anti-tumor and anti-infection immunity. The effect of aging on Tregs, and the possible contribution of age-related changes of the Treg pool to the pathophysiology of diseases in the elderly are still poorly understood. Treg homeostasis depends on an intact thymic function and current data suggest that conversion of non-regulatory T-cells into Tregs as well as peripheral expansion of existing Tregs compensates for thymic involution after puberty to maintain constant Treg numbers. In the conventional T-cell subset, peripheral proliferation of T-cells is associated with replicative senescence leading to phenotypical and functional changes. For Tregs, different developmental stages were also described; however, replicative senescence of Tregs has not been observed yet.

Front Immunol. 2013 Aug 6;4:231

Cytomegalovirus infection is associated with increased mortality in the older population.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common herpesvirus infection and stimulates the expansion of very large numbers of CMV-specific T cells that reduce the CD4/CD8 ratio and suppress the number of naïve T cells. CMV infection has been associated with frailty and impaired survival. We investigated the correlates of CMV and the impact of the CMV infection on mortality within a cohort of 511 individuals aged at least 65 years who were followed up for 18 years. The mean age of the participants was 74 years of which 70% were CMV-seropositive. CMV was strongly linked to socio-economic status, and CMV infection increased the annual mortality rate by 42% (Hazard ratio = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.11-1.76 after adjusting for age, sex and baseline socio-economic and health variables) corresponding to 3.7 years lower life expectancy from age 65. Infection was associated with a near doubling of cardiovascular deaths, whereas there was no increase in mortality from other causes. These results show that CMV infection markedly increases the mortality rate in healthy older individuals due to an excess of vascular deaths. These findings may have significant implications for the study of immune senescence and if confirmed more generally could have important implications for measures to optimize the health of the elderly.

Aging Cell. 2013 Jun;12(3):381-7

Cytomegalovirus infection is associated with increased mortality in the older population.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common herpesvirus infection and stimulates the expansion of very large numbers of CMV-specific T cells that reduce the CD4/CD8 ratio and suppress the number of naïve T cells. CMV infection has been associated with frailty and impaired survival. We investigated the correlates of CMV and the impact of the CMV infection on mortality within a cohort of 511 individuals aged at least 65 years who were followed up for 18 years. The mean age of the participants was 74 years of which 70% were CMV-seropositive. CMV was strongly linked to socio-economic status, and CMV infection increased the annual mortality rate by 42% (Hazard ratio = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.11-1.76 after adjusting for age, sex and baseline socio-economic and health variables) corresponding to 3.7 years lower life expectancy from age 65. Infection was associated with a near doubling of cardiovascular deaths, whereas there was no increase in mortality from other causes. These results show that CMV infection markedly increases the mortality rate in healthy older individuals due to an excess of vascular deaths. These findings may have significant implications for the study of immune senescence and if confirmed more generally could have important implications for measures to optimize the health of the elderly.

Aging Cell . 2013 Jun;12(3):381-7

Cytomegalovirus infection and risk of alzheimer disease in older black and white Individuals.

BACKGROUND: Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is prevalent in older adults and has been implicated in many chronic diseases of aging. This study investigated the relation between CMV and the risk of Alzheimer disease (AD). METHODS: Data come from 3 cohort studies that included 849 participants (mean age [±SD], 78.6 ± 7.2 years; mean education duration [±SD], 15.4 ± 3.3 years; 25% black). RESULTS: A solid-phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used for detecting type-specific immunoglobulin G antibody responses to CMV and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) measured in archived serum samples. Of 849 participants, 73.4% had serologic evidence of exposure to CMV (89.0% black and 68.2% white; P < .001). During an average of 5.0 years of follow-up, 93 persons developed AD. CMV seropositivity was associated with an increased risk of AD (relative risk, 2.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-3.27) and a faster rate of decline in global cognition (estimate [±standard error], -0.02 ± 0.01; P = .03) in models that controlled for age, sex, education duration, race, vascular risk factors, vascular diseases, and apolipoprotein e4 level. Results were similar in black and white individuals for both incident AD and change in cognitive function and were independent of HSV-1 status. CONCLUSIONS:  These results suggest that CMV infection is associated with anincreased risk of AD and a faster rate of cognitive decline in older diverse populations.

J Infect Dis. 2014 Aug 8

The impact of ageing on natural killer cell function and potential consequences for health in older adults.

Forming the first line of defence against virally infected and malignant cells, natural killer (NK) cells are critical effector cells of the innate immune system. With age, significant impairments have been reported in the two main mechanisms by which NK cells confer host protection: direct cytotoxicity and the secretion of immunoregulatory cytokines and chemokines. In elderly subjects, decreased NK cell activity has been shown to be associated with an increased incidence and severity of viral infection, highlighting the clinical implications that age-associated changes in NK cell biology have on the health of older adults. However, is an increased susceptibility to viral infection the only consequence of these age-related changes in NK cell function? Recently, evidence has emerged that has shown that in addition to eliminating transformed cells, NK cells are involved in many other biological processes such as immune regulation, anti-microbial immune responses and the recognition and elimination of senescent cells, novel functions that involve NK-mediated cytotoxicity and/or cytokine production. Thus, the decrease in NK cell function that accompanies physiological ageing is likely to have wider implications for the health of older adults than originally thought. Here, we give a detailed description of the changes in NK cell biology that accompany human ageing and propose that certain features of the ageing process such as: (i) the increased reactivation rates of latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis, (ii) the slower resolution of inflammatory responses and (iii) the increased incidence of bacterial and fungal infection are attributable in part to an age-associated decline in NK cell function.

Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Sep;12(4):1069-78

Cytomegalovirus is associated with reduced telomerase activity in the Whitehall II cohort.

Telomere length and telomerase activity have received increased attention as markers of cellular aging, but the determinants of inter-individual variation in these markers are incompletely understood. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection may be particularly important for telomere and telomerase dynamics due to its dramatic impact on peripheral blood lymphocyte composition, i.e., increasing the number and proportions of highly differentiated T cells that are characterized by shorter telomere length (TL) and lowered telomerase activity (TA). However, the possible relationship between CMV infection and leukocyte TL and TA has not been well-examined in vivo. This study examined the associations of CMV seropositivity and CMV IgG antibodies with leukocyte (TL) and (TA) in a sample of 434 healthy individuals (ages 53-76) from the Whitehall II cohort. Positive CMV serostatus was significantly associated with lower TA among women, and higher CMV IgG antibody levels were associated with lower TA in the overall sample. However, neither CMV seropositivity nor CMV IgG antibody levels (reflecting subclinical reactivation) among the seropositive were significantly associated with TL. These associations were robust to adjustment for age, employment grade, BMI, and smoking status. The results demonstrate that CMV seropositivity and subclinical reactivation predict lower TA. Future longitudinal studies should test whether the association of CMV with lower TA contributes to accelerated telomere shortening over time.

Exp Gerontol. 2013 Apr;48(4):385-90

Cytomegalovirus contributes partly to uraemia-associated premature immunological ageing of the T cell compartment.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection has been implicated in accelerated T cell ageing. End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients have a severely immunologically aged T cell compartment but also a high prevalence of CMV infection. We investigated whether CMV infection contributes to T cell ageing in ESRD patients. We determined the thymic output by the T cell receptor excision circle (TREC) content and percentage of CD31+ naïve T cells. The proliferative history of the T cell compartment by determination of the relative telomere length (RTL) and the T cell differentiation status was determined by immunophenotyping. It appeared that CMV infection did not affect thymic output but reduced RTL of CD8+ T cells in ESRD patients. Moreover, increased T cell differentiation was observed with higher percentages of CD57+ and CD28null CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cells. These CD28null T cells had significantly shorter telomeres compared to CD28+ T cells. Therefore we concluded that CMV infection does not affect the decreased thymic output but increases T cell differentiation as observed in ESRD-related premature T cell ageing.

Clin Exp Immunol. 2013 Dec;174(3):424-32

Immune senescence: relative contributions of age and cytomegalovirus infection.

Immune senescence, defined as the age-associated dysregulation and dysfunction of the immune system, is characterised by impaired protective immunity and decreased efficacy of vaccines. Recent clinical, epidemiological and immunological studies suggest that Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection may be associated with accelerated immune senescence, possibly by restricting the naïve T cell repertoire. However, direct evidence whether and how CMV-infection is implicated in immune senescence is still lacking. In this study, we have investigated whether latent mouse CMV (MCMV) infection with or without thymectomy (Tx) alters antiviral immunity of young and aged mice. After infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) or Vaccinia virus, specific antiviral T cell responses were significantly reduced in old, old MCMV-infected and/or Tx mice compared to young mice. Importantly, control of LCMV replication was more profoundly impaired in aged MCMV-infected mice compared to age-matched MCMV-naïve or young mice. In addition, latent MCMV infection was associated with slightly reduced vaccination efficacy in old Tx mice. In contrast to the prevailing hypothesis of a CMV-mediated restriction of the naïve T cell repertoire, we found similar naïve T cell numbers in MCMV-infected and non-infected mice, whereas ageing and Tx clearly reduced the naïve T cell pool. Instead, MCMV-infection expanded the total CD8(+) T cell pool by a massive accumulation of effector memory T cells. Based on these results, we propose a new model of increased competition between CMV-specific memory T cells and any ‘de novo’ immune response in aged individuals. In summary, our results directly demonstrate in a mouse model that latent CMV-infection impairs immunity in old age and propagates immune senescence.

PLoS Pathog. 2012;8(8):e1002850

Human cytomegalovirus infection levels in glioblastoma multiforme are of prognostic value for survival.

BACKGROUND: Patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) generally live 12-15 months after diagnosis, despite maximal surgical resection, adjuvant radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. HCMV has been detected in 90-100% of GBMs. We recently found that low grade HCMV infection in GBM tumours was highly associated with survival over 18 months (case-control study). Here, we sought to determine whether low-grade HCMV infection in GBMs is associated with prolonged survival in a consecutive patient cohort, analysed retrospectively. STUDY DESIGN: Tumour samples from 75 consecutive GBM patients treated surgically at Karolinska University Hospital in 2004-2005 were examined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization for HCMV proteins and DNA, respectively. Tumours were graded 1-4, depending on the percentage of positive cells by IHC. Low-grade HCMV was defined as grade 1 (< 25% of HCMV infected tumour cells). Time to tumour progression (TTP) and survival data were analysed with Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier models. RESULTS: HCMV infection was detected in 74 of 75 tumours (99%). In patients with low-grade HCMV infection, median survival was 20 months longer than in patients with high-grade infections (P = 0.036, HR: 2.2), and TTP was 8 months longer (P = 0.1, HR: 1.8). Two-year survival was much higher in patients with low-grade HCMV infection (63.6% vs. 17.2%, P = 0.003). CONCLUSION: The longer survival in patients whose tumours had low-grade HCMV infection suggests that the level of HCMV infection in GBMs has a prognostic value and that HCMV may contribute to the pathogenesis of GBM.

J Clin Virol. 2013 May;57(1):36-42

Increased risk of serious non-AIDS-related events in HIV-infected subjects on antiretroviral therapy associated with a low CD4/CD8 ratio.

BACKGROUND: A low CD4/CD8 ratio has been identified in the general population as a hallmark of inmmunosenescence and a surrogate of all-cause mortality. We aimed to investigate in treated HIV-infected individuals the relationship between the CD4/CD8 ratio and serious non-AIDS events. METHODS: Case-control study within a prospective hospital-based cohort of HIV-infected subjects during at least one year of ART-mediated viral suppression. Cases were patients with serious non-AIDS events (non-AIDS malignancies, cardiovascular disease, and end-stage kidney disease), and controls individuals who did not developed non-AIDS events during follow-up. Data were analyzed using ROC analysis and multivariate logistic regression. Conditional logistic regression was performed in 200 cases/controls matched by age, sex, nadir CD4 and proximal CD4 counts. RESULTS: We analyzed 407 subjects (109 cases, 298 controls). The CD4/CD8 ratio was lower in cases (0.44 vs. 0.70, P<0.0001), with higher discriminatory ability for the detection of non-AIDS events than the CD4 count, CD8 count and nadir CD4. Multivariate analyses (adjusted for age, sex, nadir CD4, proximal CD4 count, year of ART initiation and ART duration) confirmed the independent association of a low CD4/CD8 ratio with the risk of non-AIDS morbidity (per CD4/CD8 ratio quartile decrease, OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.3-6.2) and non-AIDS mortality (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.5-5.3). CONCLUSIONS: The CD4/CD8 ratio provides additional information to the CD4 counts and nadir CD4 in treated HIV-infected individuals, since it is independently associated with the risk of non-AIDS-related morbidity and mortality. This association is robust and maintained within different subgroups of patients.

PLoS One. 2014 Jan 30;9(1):e85798

The impact of aging on regulatory T-cells.

Age-related deviations of the immune system contribute to a higher likelihood of infections, cancer, and autoimmunity in the elderly. Senescence of T-lymphocytes is characterized by phenotypical and functional changes including the loss of characteristic T-cell surface markers, while an increase of stimulatory receptors, cytotoxicity as well as resistance against apoptosis is observed. One of the key mediators of immune regulation are naturally occurring regulatory T-cells (Tregs). Tregs express high levels of CD25 and the intracellular protein forkhead box P3; they exert their suppressive functions in contact-dependent as well as contact-independent manners. Quantitative and qualitative defects of Tregs were observed in patients with autoimmune diseases. Increased Treg activity was shown to suppress anti-tumor and anti-infection immunity. The effect of aging on Tregs, and the possible contribution of age-related changes of the Treg pool to the pathophysiology of diseases in the elderly are still poorly understood. Treg homeostasis depends on an intact thymic function and current data suggest that conversion of non-regulatory T-cells into Tregs as well as peripheral expansion of existing Tregs compensates for thymic involution after puberty to maintain constant Treg numbers. In the conventional T-cell subset, peripheral proliferation of T-cells is associated with replicative senescence leading to phenotypical and functional changes. For Tregs, different developmental stages were also described; however, replicative senescence of Tregs has not been observed yet.

Front Immunol. 2013 Aug 6;4:231

Cytomegalovirus infection is associated with increased mortality in the older population.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common herpesvirus infection and stimulates the expansion of very large numbers of CMV-specific T cells that reduce the CD4/CD8 ratio and suppress the number of naïve T cells. CMV infection has been associated with frailty and impaired survival. We investigated the correlates of CMV and the impact of the CMV infection on mortality within a cohort of 511 individuals aged at least 65 years who were followed up for 18 years. The mean age of the participants was 74 years of which 70% were CMV-seropositive. CMV was strongly linked to socio-economic status, and CMV infection increased the annual mortality rate by 42% (Hazard ratio = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.11-1.76 after adjusting for age, sex and baseline socio-economic and health variables) corresponding to 3.7 years lower life expectancy from age 65. Infection was associated with a near doubling of cardiovascular deaths, whereas there was no increase in mortality from other causes. These results show that CMV infection markedly increases the mortality rate in healthy older individuals due to an excess of vascular deaths. These findings may have significant implications for the study of immune senescence and if confirmed more generally could have important implications for measures to optimize the health of the elderly.

Aging Cell. 2013 Jun;12(3):381-7

The age-related increase in low-grade systemic inflammation (Inflammaging) is not driven by cytomegalovirus infection.

Aging is accompanied by the development of low-grade systemic inflammation, termed ‘inflammaging’, characterized by raised serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Importantly, inflammaging is implicated in the pathogenesis of several of the major age-related diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia and is associated with increased mortality. The incidence of infection with the persistent herpes virus cytomegalovirus (CMV) also increases with age. Cross-sectional studies have proposed CMV infection as a significant driver of inflammaging, but a definitive case for CMV as a causative agent in inflammaging has not yet been made. We studied longitudinally 249 subjects (153 men, 96 women) who participated in the Hertfordshire Ageing Study at baseline (1993/5, mean age 67·5 years) and at 10 year follow-up. At both times, anthropometric measurements were made and subjects provided blood samples for analysis of inflammatory status and CMV seropositivity. In the cohort as a whole, serum CRP (P < 0·02) and pro-inflammatory cytokines TNFa (P < 0·001) and IL-6 (P < 0·001) were increased between baseline and follow-up sampling whereas levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 were decreased (P < 0·001). These changes to cytokine status over time occurred equally in the 60% of subjects who were seropositive for CMV at baseline and follow-up, the 8% who were CMV negative at baseline but who became CMV positive by the 10 year follow-up, and also in the 32% who were CMV seronegative throughout. We conclude that CMV infection is not a primary causative factor in the age-related increase in systemic inflammation.

Aging Cell. 2012 Oct;11(5):912-5

Understanding how we age: insights into inflammaging.

Inflammaging is characterized by the upregulation of the inflammatory response that occurs with advancing age; its roots are strongly embedded in evolutionary theory.Inflammaging is believed to be a consequence of a remodelling of the innate and acquired immune system, resulting in chronic inflammatory cytokine production.Complex interrelated genetic, environmental and age-related factors determine an individual’s vulnerability or resilience to inflammaging. These factors include polymorphisms to the promoter regions of cytokines, cytokine receptors and antagonists, age-related decreases in autophagy and increased adiposity. Anti-inflammaging describes the upregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis in response to inflammaging, leading to higher levels of cortisol, which in turn may be detrimental, contributing to less successful ageing and frailty. This may be countered by the adrenal steroid dehydroepiandrosterone, which itself declines with age, leaving certain individuals more vulnerable. Inflammaging and anti-inflammaging have both been linked with a number of age-related outcomes, including chronic morbidity, functional decline and mortality. This important area of research offers unique insights into the ageing process and the potential for screening and targeted interventions.

Longev Healthspan. 2013 May 2;2(1):8

Coxsackievirus B1 is associated with induction of b-cell autoimmunity that portends type 1 diabetes.

The rapidly increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes implies that environmental factors are involved in the pathogenesis. Enteroviruses are among the suspected environmental triggers of the disease, and the interest in exploring the possibilities to develop vaccines against these viruses has increased. Our objective was to identify enterovirus serotypes that could be involved in the initiation of the disease process by screening neutralizing antibodies against 41 different enterovirus types in a unique longitudinal sample series from a large prospective birth-cohort study. The study participants comprised 183 case children testing persistently positive for at least two diabetes-predictive autoantibodies and 366 autoantibody-negative matched control children. Coxsackievirus B1 was associated with an increased risk of b-cell autoimmunity. This risk was strongest when infection occurred a few months before autoantibodies appeared and was attenuated by the presence of maternal antibodies against the virus. Two other coxsackieviruses, B3 and B6, were associated with a reduced risk, with an interaction pattern, suggesting immunological cross-protection against coxsackievirus B1. These results support previous observations suggesting that the group B coxsackieviruses are associated with the risk of type 1 diabetes. The clustering of the risk and protective viruses to this narrow phylogenetic lineage supports the biological plausibility of this phenomenon.

Diabetes. 2014 Feb;63(2):446-55

The impact of ageing on natural killer cell function and potential consequences for health in older adults.

Forming the first line of defence against virally infected and malignant cells, natural killer (NK) cells are critical effector cells of the innate immune system. With age, significant impairments have been reported in the two main mechanisms by which NK cells confer host protection: direct cytotoxicity and the secretion of immunoregulatory cytokines and chemokines. In elderly subjects, decreased NK cell activity has been shown to be associated with an increased incidence and severity of viral infection, highlighting the clinical implications that age-associated changes in NK cell biology have on the health of older adults. However, is an increased susceptibility to viral infection the only consequence of these age-related changes in NK cell function? Recently, evidence has emerged that has shown that in addition to eliminating transformed cells, NK cells are involved in many other biological processes such as immune regulation, anti-microbial immune responses and the recognition and elimination of senescent cells, novel functions that involve NK-mediated cytotoxicity and/or cytokine production. Thus, the decrease in NK cell function that accompanies physiological ageing is likely to have wider implications for the health of older adults than originally thought. Here, we give a detailed description of the changes in NK cell biology that accompany human ageing and propose that certain features of the ageing process such as: (i) the increased reactivation rates of latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis, (ii) the slower resolution of inflammatory responses and (iii) the increased incidence of bacterial and fungal infection are attributable in part to an age-associated decline in NK cell function.

Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Sep;12(4):1069-78

The changing microbiologic epidemiology of community-acquired pneumonia.

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a common infectious disease in the United States and the incidence continues to grow as the aging population increases. Overall, in-hospital patient mortality rates have been reported to be as high as 18%. Management of patients with CAP has been challenged by the evolution of resistant pathogens (particularly Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus) that have reduced susceptibility to recommended standard antimicrobial agents. Streptococcus pneumoniae continues to be the most frequently identified pathogen in CAP and recently, S. aureus has been found to be the second most often identified pathogen. Data from the SENTRY Antimicrobial Surveillance Program has shown declining susceptibility of pneumococci to penicillin, amoxicillin/clavulanate, and ceftriaxone from 1998 through 2011. In the Assessing Worldwide Resistance Evaluation (AWARE) surveillance program, > 50% of all S. aureus isolates from patient bloodstream infections, skin and skin structure infections, and pneumonia were methicillin-resistant. Stratifying risk factors to identify patients at risk for community-acquired multidrug-resistant pathogens should be considered when selecting therapy. Differences in microbiology and outcomes have been noted in patients presenting from the community with recent exposure to the health care system (eg, nursing home residents, patients with a recent hospital admission). These patients are at an increased risk of an infection caused by a multidrug-resistant pathogen. Understanding a patient’s risk for drug-resistant pathogens will allow the physician to choose an appropriate empiric treatment regimen to optimize clinical outcomes.

Postgrad Med. 2013 Nov;125(6):31-42

Recurrent urinary tract infection in older women: an evidence-based approach.

Ageing increases the risk of a woman developing a urinary tract infection (UTI). It also increases the risk of misdiagnosis and inappropriate antibiotic therapy being prescribed. Antibiotic therapy has costs as well as benefits and can lead to changes in gut and vaginal flora that further predispose older women to UTI. Antibiotic resistance is growing and those who do have a UTI may experiencetreatment failure because of resistance to commonly used antibiotics. Accurate diagnosis and effective evidence-based treatment becomes even more crucial in the face of an ageing population and increasing antimicrobial resistance. Furthermore, the need for specific evidence-based guidelines for UTI in older people is increasing.

Br J Community Nurs. 2013 Aug;18(8): 407-8, 410-2

Characterization of protective extracellular membrane-derived vesicles produced by Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Extracellular vesicles are produced by many pathogenic microorganisms and have varied functions that include secretion and release of microbial factors, which contribute to virulence. Very little is known about vesicle production by Gram-positive bacteria, as well as their biogenesis and release mechanisms. In this work, we demonstrate the active production of vesicles by Streptococcus pneumoniae from the plasma membrane, rather than being a product from cell lysis. We biochemically characterized them by proteomics and fatty acid analysis, showing that these vesicles and the plasma membrane resemble in essential aspects, but have some differences: vesicles are more enriched in lipoproteins and short-chain fatty acids. We also demonstrate that these vesicles act as carriers of surface proteins and virulence factors. They are also highly immunoreactive against human sera and induce immune responses that protect against infection. Overall, this work provides insights into the biology of this important Gram-positive human pathogen and the role of extracellular vesicles in clinical applications.

J Proteomics. 2014 Jun 25;106:46-60

Extracts of cistanche deserticola can antagonize Immunosenescence and Extend life span in senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAM-P8) mice.

The senescence accelerated mouse prone 8 substrain (SAM-P8), widely accepted as an animal model for studying aging and antiaging drugs, was used to examine the effects of dietary supplementation with extracts of Cistanche deserticola (ECD) which has been used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine because of its perceived ability to promote immune function in the elderly. Eight-month-old male SAM-P8 mice were treated with ECD by daily oral administrations for 4 weeks. The results showed that dietary supplementation of 150 mg/kg and 450 mg/kg of ECD could extend the life span measured by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis in dose-dependent manner. Dietary supplementation of SAM-P8 mice for 4 weeks with 100, 500, and 2,500 mg/kg of ECD was shown to result in significant increases in both naive T and natural killer cells in blood and spleen cell populations. In contrast, peripheral memory T cells and proinflammatory cytokine, IL-6 in serum, were substantially decreased in the mice that ingested 100 and 500 mg/kg of ECD daily. Additionally, Sca-1 positive cells, the recognized progenitors of peripheral naive T cells, were restored in parallel. Our results provide clear experimental support for long standing clinical observational studies showing that Cistanche deserticola possesses significant effects in extending life span and suggest this is achieved by antagonizing immunosenescence.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:601383

Cistanche deserticola decoction alleviates the testicular toxicity induced by hydroxyurea in male mice.

This study aimed to evaluate testicular toxicity induced by hydroxyurea (HU) and the possible counteracting effect of an aqueous extract of Cistanche deserticola (CD). HU is an antineoplastic drug that has potential reproductive toxicity, and Herba Cistanche has been used as a tonic for the reproductive system for thousands of years. Sixty mice were randomly divided into five groups. Except mice in normal group, the rest received HU (400 mg kg(-1) body weight) intragastrically. Meanwhile, mice in normal and HU control groups received purified water, and the rest received intragastrically three doses of CD decoctions (1.5, 3.0 and 6.0 g crude drug kg(-1) body weight, respectively) daily for 4 weeks. Severe testes lesions were observed, testes weight (P<0.01) and serum luteinising hormone levels (P<0.01) were also decreased significantly, in the HU groups. Three doses of CD decoctions alleviated the spermatogenetic cell degeneration induced by HU and modulated the serum sex hormones levels to some extent.

Asian J Androl. 2013 Nov;15(6):838-40

MGN-3 arabinoxylan rice bran modulates innate immunity in multiple myeloma patients.

Dendritic cells (DCs) and natural killer (NK) cells are central components of innate immunity for controlling tumor growth. The therapeutic effects of certain anti-myeloma drugs are partially mediated by targeting the innate immune response. In addition, novel types of natural compounds have been developed that efficiently modulate the activity of both the cellular and humoral compartments of immunity. MGN-3 is known as an activator of natural killer cells, inducer of apoptosis and cytokine production, and modulator of dendritic cell maturation and differentiation in vitro. We have performed a randomized, placebo-controlled study to examine the effects of MGN-3 on innate immune system parameters in 48 multiple myeloma patients. We performed immunophenotypic analysis of peripheral blood samples, determined NK cell activity, and assessed the cytokine profiles of plasma before and during 3 months of treatment. The results demonstrate a clear increase in NK activity in MGN-3-treated patients compared to the placebo group, an increased level of myeloid DCs in peripheral blood, and augmented concentrations of T helper cell type 1-related cytokines. The present study suggests that MGN-3 may represent an immunologically relevant product for activating innate immunity in multiple myeloma patients and warrants further testing to demonstrate clinical efficacy.

Cancer Immunol Immunother . 2013 Mar;62(3):437-45

Arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3/Biobran) provides protection against whole-body-irradiation in mice via restoration of hematopoietic tissues.

The aim of the current study is to examine the protective effect of MGN-3 on overall maintenance of hematopoietic tissue after g-irradiation. MGN-3 is an arabinoxylan from rice bran that has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant and immune modulator. Swiss albino mice were treated with MGN-3 prior to irradiation and continued to receive MGN-3 for 1 or 4 weeks. Results were compared with mice that received radiation (5 Gy g rays) only, MGN-3 (40 mg/kg) only and control mice (receiving neither radiation nor MGN-3). At 1 and 4 weeks post-irradiation, different hematological, histopathological and biochemical parameters were examined. Mice exposed to irradiation alone showed significant depression in their complete blood count (CBC) except for neutrophilia. Additionally, histopathological studies showed hypocellularity of their bone marrow, as well as a remarkable decrease in splenic weight/relative size and in number of megakaryocytes. In contrast, pre-treatment with MGN-3 resulted in protection against irradiation-induced damage to the CBC parameters associated with complete bone marrow cellularity, as well as protection of the aforementioned splenic changes. Furthermore, MGN-3 exerted antioxidative activity in whole-body irradiated mice, and provided protection from irradiation-induced loss of body and organ weight. In conclusion, MGN-3 has the potential to protect progenitor cells in the bone marrow, which suggests the possible use of MGN-3/Biobran as an adjuvant treatment to counteract the severe adverse side effects associated with radiation therapy.

J Radiat Res . 2013 May;54(3):419-29

Modified arabinoxylan from rice bran, MGN-3/biobran, sensitizes metastatic breast cancer cells to paclitaxel in vitro.

BACKGROUND: There is an increased interest in alternative treatments that reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy by lowering the drug concentration, whilst maintaining potency against cancer cells. Previous studies have demonstrated that arabinoxylan from rice bran, MGN-3/Biobran, sensitizes human breast cancer cells (BCC) to daunorubicin (DNR). In the present study, we further evaluated the ability of MGN-3 to sensitize cells to another chemotherapy agent, paclitaxel. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Non-metastatic MCF-7 (human BCC) and metastatic 4T1 (murine BCC) cells were cultured with different concentrations of paclitaxel in the presence or absence of MGN-3. Cell survival, DNA damage, and cell proliferation were examined. RESULTS: MGN-3 increased the susceptibility of both types of cancer cells to paclitaxel by over 100-fold. Mechanistically, MGN-3 works synergistically with paclitaxel by causing DNA damage, enhancing apoptosis, and inhibiting cell proliferation in 4T1 cells. CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrate that MGN-3 is an effective chemosensitizer and may represent a novel adjuvant for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

Anticancer Res . 2014 Jan;34(1):81-7

Arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3) enhances the effects of interventional therapies for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma: a three-year randomized clinical trial.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: This study examined the efficacy of arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3) in conjunction with an interventional therapy (IT) for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of sixty-eight patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (stages I and II) participated in the study. Patients were randomized to receive IT (30 patients, control group) or IT+MGN-3 (38 patients), and randomly divided into two groups using a computer-generated randomization list. Patients and investigators were blinded. IT included transarterial oily chemoembolization (TOCE) or a combination of TOCE and percutaneous ethanol injection treatment (PEIT). RESULTS: Patients in the IT+MGN-3 group showed: (i) lower recurrence of the disease, 31.6% (12/38), as compared to 46.7% (14/30) for the control; (ii) higher survival after the second year, 35%, as compared to 6.7% for the control; (iii) significantly lower alpha-fetoprotein level, a 38% decrease (p = 0.0001), as compared to baseline value, while the control showed no significant change; and (iv) a significant decrease in tumor volume, in contrast to the control, whichshowed no significant change. When the results were analyzed according to each IT modality, MGN-3+IT sub-groups displayed a greater response to treatment, in every aspect examined, than the IT sub-groups alone. However, the patients in the MGN-3+TOCE+PEIT sub-group demonstrated greater reduction in AFP levels and longer survival time than the MGN-3+TOCE sub-group. CONCLUSION: MGN-3 in conjunction with IT may be useful for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and warrants further investigation in multiple clinical trials.

Anticancer Res . 2010 Dec;30(12):5145-51

The role of natural killer cells and CD8(+) T cells in hepatitis B virus infection.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is one of the main causes of chronic liver diseases that may progress to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Host immune responses are important factors that determine whether HBV infection is cleared or persists. Natural killer (NK) cells represent the main effector population of the innate immune system and are abundant in the human liver. Recently, it has been demonstrated that NK cells not only exhibit antiviral functions but may also regulate adaptive immune responses by deletion of HBV-specific CD8(+) T cells. It is well-established that HBV-specific CD8(+) T cells contribute to virus elimination. However, the mechanisms contributing to CD8(+) T cell failure in chronic HBV infection are not well-understood. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge about NK cells and CD8(+) T cells and illustrate their contribution to viral clearance and persistence in HBV infection. Moreover, novel immunological in vitro model systems and techniques to analyze HBV-specific CD8(+) T cells, which are barely detectable using current multimer staining methods, will be discussed.

Front Immunol. 2014 Jun 3;5:258

NK cells are necessary for recovery of corneal CD11c+ dendritic cells after epithelial abrasion injury.

Mechanisms controlling CD11c(+) MHCII(+) DCs during corneal epithelial wound healing were investigated in a murine model of corneal abrasion. Selective depletion of NKp46(+) CD3- NK cells that normally migrate into the cornea after epithelial abrasion resulted in >85% reduction of the epithelial CD11c(+) MHCII(+) DCs, normally present during and after epithelial wound closure. Transfer (i.v.) of spleen NK cells into NK cell-depleted mice significantly restored levels of corneal epithelial DCs (P<0.01). Immigrated NK cells were predominately positive for IFN-g, and topical corneal anti-IFN-g reduced epithelial DCs by 79% (P<0.01). IFN-g(-/-) mice had 69% fewer DCs than WT controls (P<0.01), and topical rIFN-g applied to NK cell-depleted corneas increased epithelial DCs significantly (P<0.01). The contribution of ICAM-1, an adhesion molecule involved in leukocyte migration, expressed on healing corneal epithelium, was evaluated. ICAM-1(-/-) mice exhibited >70% reduction in epithelial DC recovery in the first 48 h after epithelial abrasion (P<0.01). These interventions reveal an early turnover of DCs in the epithelium after injury, and ICAM-1, NK cells, and IFN-g are necessary for the immigration phase of this turnover.

J Leukoc Biol. 2013 Aug;94(2):343-51

Natural killer cells protect mice from DSS-induced colitis by regulating neutrophil function via the NKG2A receptor.

Natural killer (NK) cells are traditionally considered in the context of tumor surveillance and infection defense but their role in chronic inflammatory disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease is less clear. Here, we investigated the role of NK cells in dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis in mice. Depletion of NK cells impairs the survival of mice with colitis and is linked with dramatic increases in colonic damage, leukocyte infiltration, and pro-inflammatory profiles. Mice depleted of NK cells had increased numbers of neutrophils in colons and mesenteric lymph nodes, compared with control mice, in addition to acquiring a hyper-activation status. In vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate that NK cells downregulate pro-inflammatory functions of activated neutrophils, including reactive oxygen species and cytokine production, by direct cell-to-cell contact involving the NK cell-inhibitory receptor NKG2A. Our results indicate an immunoregulatory mechanism of action of NK cells attenuating DSS-induced colitis neutrophil-mediated inflammation and tissue injury via NKG2A-dependent mechanisms.

Mucosal Immunol. 2013 Sep;6(5):1016-26

Opportunities and limitations of natural killer cells as adoptive therapy for malignant disease.

Although natural killer (NK) cells can be readily generated for adoptive therapy with current techniques, their optimal application to treat malignant diseases requires an appreciation of the dynamic balance between signals that either synergize with or antagonize each other. Individuals display wide differences in NK function that determine their therapeutic efficacy. The ability of NK cells to kill target cells or produce cytokines depends on the balance between signals from activating and inhibitory cell-surface receptors. The selection of NK cells with a predominant activating profile is critical for delivering successful anti-tumor activity. This can be achieved through selection of killer immunoglobulin-like receptor-mismatched NK donors and by use of blocking molecules against inhibitory pathways. Optimum NK cytotoxicity may require licensing or priming with tumor cells. Recent discoveries in the molecular and cellular biology of NK cells inform in the design of new strategies, including adjuvant therapies, to maximize the cytotoxic potential of NK cells for adoptive transfer to treat human malignancies.

Cytotherapy. 2014 Nov;16(11):1453-66

NK cell phenotypic and functional heterogeneities and molecular mechanisms of cytotoxicity.

Natural killer (NK) cells were discovered four decades ago, independently, by the Kiessling and Herberman groups. Since then, significant advances have accrued regarding the functional and molecular properties of NK cells as well as their clinical relevance. The important feature of NK cells is their inability to kill normal cells, while they are highly cytotoxic for infected or transformed cells. This discrimination has been largely resolved by the discovery of both activating and inhibitory receptors on NK cells and corresponding ligands on target cells. This review focuses briefly on several issues related to NK cells: (1) the phenotypic properties of NK cells, (2) the heterogeneity of NK cell activities, (3) the determination of three major NK subsets (Free, Binder, and Killer), (4) the maturation and activation of NK subsets, (5) the response of NK cells to various cytokines, (6) the target-induced inactivation and cell death of NK cells, (7) the multiple mechanisms of cell-mediated cytotoxicity, (8) the characterization of NK cytotoxic factors (NKCF), and (9) the role of membrane fluidity in cytotoxicity. These subjects are described chronologically beginning shortly after the discovery of NK cells as a result of Ron Herberman’s leadership, and I am gratefully indebted to him.

Crit Rev Oncog. 2014;19(1-2):21-45

Activating killer cell Ig-like receptors in health and disease.

Expression of non-rearranged HLA class I-binding receptors characterizes human and mouse NK cells. The postulation of the missing-self hypothesis some 30 years ago triggered the subsequent search and discovery of inhibitory MHC-receptors, both in humans and mice. These receptors have two functions: (i) to control the threshold for NK cell activation, a process termed “licensing” or “education,” and (ii) to inhibit NK cell activation during interactions with healthy HLA class I-expressing cells. The discovery of activating forms of KIRs (aKIR) challenged the concept of NK cell tolerance in steady state, as well as during immune challenge: what is the biological role of the activating KIR, in particular when NK cells express aKIRs in the absence of inhibitory receptors? Recently it was shown that aKIRs also participate in the education of NK cells. However, instead of lowering the threshold of activation like iKIRs, the expression of aKIRs has the opposite effect, i.e., rendering NK cells hyporesponsive. These findings may have consequences during NK cell response to viral infection, in cancer development, and in the initial stages of pregnancy. Here we review the current knowledge of activating KIRs, including the biological concept of aKIR-dependent NK cell education, and their impact in health and disease.

Front Immunol. 2014 Apr 22;5:184

Self-reported aging-related fatigue: a concept description and its relevance to physical therapist practice.

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms experienced by older people, both with and without chronic disease. It is unpleasant and distressing and can affect functioning and quality of life. Fatigue also may inhibit an older person from participating optimally in a physical therapy program aimed at rehabilitation or the promotion of better health. However, confusion surrounds the concept of self-reported aging-related fatigue, not only because of the complexity of the problem itself but also because of lack of clarity of definition and the use of the term “fatigue” to describe a range of different concepts. This article aims to provide clarification of the concept in the context of physical therapist clinical practice. The intention is to increase awareness of the issue among physical therapists, promoting their assessment and consideration of the problem when planning health interventions involving functioning, physical activity, and exercise for older people.

Phys Ther. 2013 Oct;93(10):1403-13

Age-associated changes in oxidative stress and NAD+ metabolism in human tissue.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) is an essential electron transporter in mitochondrial respiration and oxidative phosphorylation. In genomic DNA, NAD(+) also represents the sole substrate for the nuclear repair enzyme, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and the sirtuin family of NAD-dependent histone deacetylases. Age associated increases in oxidative nuclear damage have been associated with PARP-mediated NAD(+) depletion and loss of SIRT1 activity in rodents. In this study, we further investigated whether these same associations were present in aging human tissue. Human pelvic skin samples were obtained from consenting patients aged between 15-77 and newborn babies (0-1 year old) (n = 49)
previously scheduled for an unrelated surgical procedure. DNA damage correlated strongly with age in both males (p = 0.029; r = 0.490) and females (p = 0.003; r = 0.600) whereas lipid oxidation (MDA) levels increased with age in males (p = 0.004; r = 0.623) but not females (p = 0.3734; r = 0.200). PARP activity significantly increased with age in males (p<0.0001; r = 0.768) and inversely correlated with tissue NAD(+) levels (p = 0.0003; r = -0.639). These associations were less evident in females. A strong negative correlation was observed between NAD(+) levels and age in both males (p = 0.001; r = -0.706) and females (p = 0.01; r = -0.537). SIRT1 activity also negatively correlated with age in males (p = 0.007; r = -0.612) but not in females. Strong positive correlations were also observed between lipid peroxidation and DNA damage (p<0.0001; r = 0.4962), and PARP activity and NAD(+) levels (p = 0.0213; r = 0.5241) in post pubescent males. This study provides quantitative evidence in support of the hypothesis that hyperactivation of PARP due to an accumulation of oxidative damage to DNA during aging may be responsible for increased NAD(+) catabolism in human tissue. The resulting NAD(+) depletion may play a major role in the aging process, by limiting energy production, DNA repair and genomic signalling.

PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e42357

Age-related changes in NAD+ metabolism oxidative stress and Sirt1 activity in wistar rats.

The cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) has emerged as a key regulator of metabolism, stress resistance and longevity. Apart from its role as an important redox carrier, NAD+ also serves as the sole substrate for NAD-dependent enzymes, including poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), an important DNA nick sensor, and NAD-dependent histone deacetylases, Sirtuins which play an important role in a wide variety of processes, including senescence, apoptosis, differentiation, and aging. We examined the effect of aging on intracellular NAD+ metabolism in the whole heart, lung, liver and kidney of female wistar rats. Our results are the first to show a significant decline in intracellular NAD+ levels and NAD:NADH ratio in all organs by middle age (i.e.12 months) compared to young (i.e. 3 month old) rats. These changes in [NAD(H)] occurred in parallel with an increase in lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyls (o- and m- tyrosine) formation and decline in total antioxidant capacity in these organs. An age dependent increase in DNA damage (phosphorylated H2AX) was also observed in these same organs. Decreased Sirt1 activity and increased acetylated p53 were observed in organ tissues in parallel with the drop in NAD+ and moderate over-expression of Sirt1 protein. Reduced mitochondrial activity of complex I-IV was also observed in aging animals, impacting both redox status and ATP production. The strong positive correlation observed between DNA damage associated NAD+ depletion and Sirt1 activity suggests that adequate NAD+ concentrations may be an important longevity assurance factor.

PLoS One. 2011 Apr 26;6(4):e19194

Declining NAD(+) induces a pseudohypoxic state disrupting nuclear-mitochondrial communication during aging.

Ever since eukaryotes subsumed the bacterial ancestor of mitochondria, the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes have had to closely coordinate their activities, as each encode different subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)
system. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark of aging, but its causes are debated. We show that, during aging, there is a specific loss of mitochondrial, but not nuclear, encoded OXPHOS subunits. We trace the cause to an alternate PGC-1a/b-independent pathway of nuclear-mitochondrial communication that is induced by a decline in nuclear NAD(+) and the accumulation of HIF-1a under normoxic conditions, with parallels to Warburg reprogramming. Deleting SIRT1 accelerates this process, whereas raising NAD(+) levels in old mice restores mitochondrial function to that of a young mouse in a SIRT1-dependent manner. Thus, a pseudohypoxic state that disrupts PGC-1a/b-independent nuclear-mitochondrial communication contributes to the decline in mitochondrial function with age, a process that is apparently reversible.

Cell. 2013 Dec 19;155(7):1624-38

Effective treatment of mitochondrial myopathy by nicotinamide riboside, a vitamin B3.

Nutrient availability is the major regulator of life and reproduction, and a complex cellular signaling network has evolved to adapt organisms to fasting. These sensor pathways monitor cellular energy metabolism, especially mitochondrial ATP production and NAD(+)/NADH ratio, as major signals for nutritional state. We hypothesized that these signals would be modified by mitochondrial respiratory chain disease, because of inefficient NADH utilization and ATP production. Oral administration of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a vitamin B3 and NAD(+) precursor, was previously shown to boost NAD(+) levels in mice and to induce mitochondrial biogenesis. Here, we treated mitochondrial myopathy mice with NR. This vitamin effectively delayed early- and late-stage disease progression, by robustly inducing mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue, preventing mitochondrial ultrastructure abnormalities and mtDNA deletion formation. NR further stimulated mitochondrial unfolded protein response, suggesting its protective role in mitochondrial disease. These results indicate that NR and strategies boosting NAD(+) levels are a promising treatment strategy for mitochondrial myopathy.

EMBO Mol Med. 2014 Apr 6;6(6):721-31

The NAD(+) precursor nicotinamide riboside enhances oxidative metabolism and protects against high-fat diet-induced obesity.

As NAD(+) is a rate-limiting cosubstrate for the sirtuin enzymes, its modulation is emerging as a valuable tool to regulate sirtuin function and, consequently, oxidative metabolism. In line with this premise, decreased activity of PARP-1 or CD38-both NAD(+) consumers-increases NAD(+) bioavailability, resulting in SIRT1 activation and protection against metabolic disease. Here we evaluated whether similar effects could be achieved by increasing the supply of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a recently described natural NAD(+) precursor with the ability to increase NAD(+) levels, Sir2-dependent gene silencing, and replicative life span in yeast. We show that NR supplementation in mammalian cells and mouse tissues increases NAD(+) levels and activates SIRT1 and SIRT3, culminating in enhanced oxidative metabolism and protection against high-fat diet-induced metabolic abnormalities. Consequently, our results indicate that the natural vitamin NR could be used as a nutritional supplement to ameliorate metabolic and age-related disorders characterized by defective mitochondrial function.

Cell Metab. 2012 Jun 6;15(6):838-47

Manipulation of a nuclear NAD+ salvage pathway delays aging without altering steady-state NAD+ levels.

Yeast deprived of nutrients exhibit a marked life span extension that requires the activity of the NAD(+)-dependent histone deacetylase, Sir2p. Here we show that increased dosage of NPT1, encoding a nicotinate phosphoribosyltransferase critical for the NAD(+) salvage pathway, increases Sir2-dependent silencing, stabilizes the rDNA locus, and extends yeast replicative life span by up to 60%. Both NPT1 and SIR2 provide resistance against heat shock, demonstrating that these genes act in a more general manner to promote cell survival. We show that Npt1 and a previously uncharacterized salvage pathway enzyme, Nma2, are both concentrated in the nucleus, indicating that a significant amount of NAD(+) is regenerated in this organelle. Additional copies of the salvage pathway genes, PNC1, NMA1, and NMA2, increase telomeric and rDNA silencing, implying that multiple steps affect the rate of the pathway. Although SIR2-dependent processes are enhanced by additional NPT1, steady-state NAD(+) levels and NAD(+)/NADH ratios remain unaltered. This finding suggests that yeast life span extension may be facilitated by an increase in the availability of NAD(+) to Sir2, although not through a simple increase in steady-state levels. We propose a model in which increased flux through the NAD(+) salvage pathway is responsible for the Sir2-dependent extension of life span.

J Biol Chem. 2002 May 24;277(21):18881-90

NAD(+)-dependent repair of damaged DNA by human cell extracts.

Rejoining of DNA single-strand breaks generated by treatment of plasmids with gamma-rays, neocarzinostatin, or bleomycin was catalyzed inefficiently by human cell extracts. The reaction was strongly promoted by the addition of NAD+, which was employed for rapid and transient synthesis of poly(ADP-ribose). The DNA rejoining reaction was accompanied by DNA repair replication, apparently due to replacement of damaged residues at termini. Selective depletion of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase from cell extracts improved the repair of DNA exposed to a variety of DNA-damaging agents by removing the NAD+ dependence of the repair reaction. NAD(+)-promoted DNA repair by soluble cell extracts also occurred with alkylated DNA as substrate and was suppressed by 3-aminobenzamide. A similar stimulatory effect by NAD+ was observed for repair of ultraviolet-irradiated DNA, and this could be ascribed to the presence of pyrimidine hydrates as minor radiation-induced DNA lesions. No effect was observed on the sealing of gamma-irradiated DNA by supplementation of cell extracts with purified mammalian DNA ligase I or DNA ligase II. The results indicate that poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase interferes with base excision-repair processes because bound enzyme molecules block DNA strand interruptions. Release of bound poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase following automodification, or physical removal of the protein from reaction mixtures, facilitates DNA repair.

J Biol Chem. 1993 Mar 15;268(8):5480-7

A4M

Molecular mechanisms involved in endothelial cell aging: role of telomerase reverse transcriptase.

Aging is one major risk factor for the incidence of coronary artery disease and the development of atherosclerosis. The functional integrity of the endothelial cell monolayer is essential to prevent lesion formation. Endothelial cells show profound changes with age. However, the molecular mechanisms are not well understood. Important players in the process of endothelial cell aging are reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide bioavailability, mitochondrial integrity and the activity of telomerase reverse transcriptase. This review will demonstrate the evidence that these processes are involved in endothelial cell aging and linked to each other. The future goal of understanding endothelial cell aging would allow for an anti-aging therapy to reduce the influence of aging in the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.

Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2007 Oct;40(5):334-8

Estrogen receptor-alpha and endothelial nitric oxide synthase nuclear complex regulates transcription of human telomerase.

We report that in endothelial cells, the angiogenic effect of 17beta-estradiol (E2) is inhibited by the estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist ICI or the NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor 7-nitroindazole via downregulation of hTERT, the telomerase catalytic subunit, suggesting that E2 and NO are involved in controlling hTERT transcription. Quantitative Real-Time PCR and chromatin immunoprecipitations in E2-treated human umbilical vein endothelial cells, showed recruitment of ERs on the hTERT promoter and concomitant enrichment in histone 3 methylation at Lysine 79, a modification associated with transcription-competent chromatin. Confocal microscopy and re-chromatin immunoprecipitations revealed that on E2 induction, endothelial (e)NOS rapidly localized into the nucleus and associated with ERalpha on the hTERT promoter. Transfections of a constitutively active eNOS mutant (S1177D) strongly induced the hTERT promoter, indicating a direct role of the protein in hTERT transcriptional regulation. Mutation of the estrogen response element in the promoter abolished response to both ERs and active eNOS, demonstrating that the estrogen response element integrity is required for hTERT regulation by these factors. To investigate this novel regulation in a reduced NO environment, pulmonary endothelial cells were isolated from eNOS(-/-) mice and grown with/without E2. In wild-type cells, E2 significantly increased telomerase activity. In eNOS(-/-) cells, basal telomerase activity was rescued by exogenous eNOS or an NO donor, whereas responsiveness to E2 demanded the active protein. In conclusion, we document the novel findings of a combinatorial eNOS/ERalpha complex at the hTERT estrogen response element site and that active eNOS and ligand-activated ERs cooperate in regulating hTERT expression in the endothelium.

Circ Res. 2008 Jul 3;103(1):34-42

Defective mitochondrial biogenesis: a hallmark of the high cardiovascular risk in the metabolic syndrome?

The metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors of metabolic origin that are accompanied by increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. These risk factors include atherogenic dyslipidemia, elevated blood pressure and plasma glucose, and a prothrombotic and proinflammatory state. The condition is progressive and is exacerbated by physical inactivity, advancing age, hormonal imbalance, and genetic predisposition. The metabolic syndrome is a particularly challenging clinical condition because its complex molecular basis is still largely undefined. Impaired cell metabolism has, however, been suggested as a relevant pathophysiological process underlying several clinical features of the syndrome. In particular, defective oxidative metabolism seems to be involved in visceral fat gain and in the development of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. This suggests that mitochondrial function may be impaired in the metabolic syndrome and, thus, in the consequent cardiovascular disease. We have recently found that mitochondrial biogenesis and function are enhanced by nitric oxide in various cell types and tissues, including cardiac muscle. Increasing evidence suggests that this mediator acts as a metabolic sensor in cardiomyocytes. This implies that a defective production of nitric oxide might be linked to dysfunction of the cardiomyocyte metabolism. Here we summarize some recent findings and propose a hypothesis for the high cardiovascular risk linked to the metabolic syndrome.

Circ Res. 2007 Mar 30;100(6):795-806

Essential role of endothelial nitric oxide synthase for mobilization of stem and progenitor cells.

Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) is essential for neovascularization. Here we show that the impaired neovascularization in mice lacking eNOS is related to a defect in progenitor cell mobilization. Mice deficient in eNOS (Nos3(-/-)) show reduced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced mobilization of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and increased mortality after myelosuppression. Intravenous infusion of wild-type progenitor cells, but not bone marrow transplantation, rescued the defective neovascularization of Nos3(-/-) mice in a model of hind-limb ischemia, suggesting that progenitor mobilization from the bone marrow is impaired in Nos3(-/-) mice. Mechanistically, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), which is required for stem cell mobilization, was reduced in the bone marrow of Nos3(-/-) mice. These findings indicate that eNOS expressed by bone marrow stromal cells influences recruitment of stem and progenitor cells. This may contribute to impaired regeneration processes in ischemic heart disease patients, who are characterized by a reduced systemic NO bioactivity.

Nat Med. 2003 Nov;9(11):1370-6

Age-related reduction of NO availability and oxidative stress in humans.

Age-related endothelial dysfunction could be caused by an alteration in the L-arginine-NO system and the production of oxidative stress in both normotensive and hypertensive individuals. In 47 normotensive subjects and 49 patients with essential hypertension, we evaluated forearm blood flow (by strain-gauge plethysmography) modifications induced by intrabrachial sodium nitroprusside (1, 2, and 4 microg/100 mL per minute) and acetylcholine (0.15, 0.45, 1.5, 4.5, and 15 microg/100 mL per minute), an endothelium-independent vasodilator and an endothelium-dependent vasodilator, respectively. Acetylcholine was repeated in the presence of the NO synthase inhibitor N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA, 100 microg/100 mL per minute), the antioxidant vitamin C (8 mg/100 mL per minute), or both. Vasodilation to acetylcholine, but not to sodium nitroprusside, was lower (P<0.01) in hypertensive patients compared with control subjects. Moreover, in both groups, endothelium-dependent vasodilation declined with aging. In normotensive subjects, the inhibiting effect of L-NMMA on response to acetylcholine decreased in parallel with advancing age, whereas vitamin C increased vasodilation to acetylcholine in only the oldest group (age >60 years). In young hypertensive patients (age <30 years), vasodilation to acetylcholine was sensitive to L-NMMA, whereas in hypertensive patients age >30 years, vitamin C enhanced endothelium-dependent vasodilation and restored the inhibiting effect of L-NMMA on response to acetylcholine. In normotensive individuals, an earlier primary dysfunction of the NO system and a later production of oxidative stress cause age-related reduction in endothelium-dependent vasodilation. These alterations are similar but anticipated in hypertensive patients compared with normotensive subjects.

Hypertension. 2001 Aug;38(2):274-9

Pathophysiology, diagnosis and prognostic implications of endothelial dysfunction.

Endothelial dysfunction (ED) in the setting of cardiovascular risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic smoking as well as in patients with heart failure has been shown to be at least in part dependent on the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide and the subsequent decrease in vascular bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO). Methods to quantify endothelial dysfunction include forearm plethysmography, flow-dependent dilation of the brachial artery, finger-pulse plethysmography, pulse curve analysis, and quantitative coronary angiography after intracoronary administration of the endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine. Superoxide sources include the NADPH oxidase, xanthine oxidase, and mitochondria. Superoxide produced by the NADPH oxidase may react with NO released by the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) thereby generating peroxynitrite (ONOO-), leading to eNOS uncoupling and therefore eNOS-mediated superoxide production. The present review will discuss current concepts of how to assess endothelial function, prognostic implications of ED, mechanisms underlying ED with focus on oxidative stress and circulating biomarkers, which have been proposed to indicate endothelial dysfunction and/or damage, respectively

Ann Med. 2008;40(3):180-96

The dilemma of nocturnal blood pressure.

During the past decades, blood pressure (BP) measurement technique has evolved rapidly from the traditionally manual measuring to fully automatic monitoring. In terms of management of BP, there have been tremendous changes from the controlling of daytime BP, nondipping pattern to nocturnal BP (NBP). Since the focus has turned to NBP, a number of dilemmas of NBP measurement have gradually emerged in clinical practice and research settings, including methods for monitoring NBP, different period definition of nocturnal time, different diagnostic thresholds of abnormal NBP, whether to control abnormal NBP, and how to manage abnormal NBP. Currently, these issues have hindered progress in the appropriate management of hypertensive patients. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to concisely discuss the dilemmas of NBP.

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2012 Nov;14(11):787-91