Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 3 October 2001
Vol. 2001, Issue 1, p. nw1
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2001.1.nw1]


Immune System Resuscitation: T cells from old mice get vitamin E's personal attention

R. John Davenport;2001/1/nw1

Key Words: T cell • IL-2 • PGE2 • vitamin E • prostaglandin

Abstract: Vitamin E might counteract aging's impact on the immune system by breathing new life into waning T cells, according to new work. Scientists had previously ascribed the positive effect of vitamin E on T cells to a reduction in the amounts of an intermediary: a lipid-soluble hormone called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) that suppresses T cell function. Adolfsson and colleagues purified T cells from a mixture of spleen cells to get rid of macrophages, which produce PGE2. Then they added vitamin E, activated the T cells with antigen, and incubated them to allow the cells to respond. Next, the team assessed cell proliferation and production of the immune system protein IL-2, two indicators of healthy T cell function. By these measures, vitamin E enhanced the behavior of na�ve T cells--T cells that had not been exposed to antigen before the experiment--from old mice: With treatment, they reproduced better and produced more IL-2 than did controls. In contrast, vitamin E did not boost function of mature T cells--those previously exposed to antigen--from old mice, nor T cells of either type from young mice. These data shed light on how vitamin E revives T cells and might help researchers understand how best to use vitamin E therapy to bolster the immune systems of the elderly.

--R. John Davenport; suggested by Jennifer Fuller

O. Adolfsson, B. T. Huber, S. N. Meydani, Vitamin E-enhanced IL-2 production in old mice: Naive but not memory T cells show increased cell division cycling and IL-2-producing capacity. J. Immunol. 167, 3809-3817 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: R. J. Davenport, Immune System Resuscitation: T cells from old mice get vitamin E's personal attention. Science's SAGE KE (3 October 2001),;2001/1/nw1

Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150