Telomerase, Immune Senescence

Beyond the reduction in number of naive T cells, the immune system also ages through an accumulation of senescent T cells that behave in suboptimal or damaging ways. Via Ouroboros, a look at the science of doing something about the latter problem: "Cultures of senescent CD8 T cells show altered cytokine patterns, resistance to apoptosis, and absence of expression of the CD28 costimulatory receptor. CD8 T cells with these and other features of replicative senescence accumulate progressively with age ... high proportions of CD8 T cells with the senescent phenotype correlate with several deleterious physiologic outcomes, including poor vaccine responses, bone loss, and increased proinflammatory cytokines. CD8+CD28- T cells have also been shown to exert suppressive activity on other immune cells. Based on the central role of telomere shortening in the replicative senescence program, we are developing several telomerase-based approaches as potential immunoenhancing treatments for aging."



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