Older mice are more susceptible to proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PGIA). Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Immunity & Ageing have shown, for the first time, that young mice are completely resistant, but become fully susceptible to the disease with age.
Tibor Glant, from Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, worked with a team of researchers to investigate the effects of immunological senescence on susceptibility to arthritis. He said, "Our results suggest that, while the young can effectively regulate their immune response to proteoglycan, in older mice these mechanisms are partially lost. This 'physiological' loss of control may lead to sustained activation of autoreactive T cells and auto-antibody production, directing the immune system against self antigen and culminating in joint inflammation in genetically susceptible animals".
The researchers conclude that complex age-related changes in interactions between T cells and antigen presenting cells, and reduced generation of regulatory T cells, may lead to impaired immune regulation and the development of autoimmune disease. Glant said, "Increasing incidence of rheumatoid arthritis with age has been repeatedly shown in the human population, hopefully this mouse model will go some way towards explaining why".
Notes to Editors
1. Age-related changes in arthritis susceptibility and severity in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis
Oktavia Tarjanyi, Ferenc Boldizsar, Peter Nemeth, Katalin Mikecz and Tibor T. Glant
Immunity & Ageing (in press)
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2. Immunity & Ageing is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal that considers manuscripts on all aspects of ageing examined from an immunological point of view. During the past century, mankind has gained more years of average life expectancy than in the last 10,000 years. More than 20% of the Western population is over 60 years of age, and the proportion of those over 85 is growing six times faster than the population as a whole. Over the last few years, journals oriented towards gerontology and geriatric sciences have been accepting an increasing number of articles dealing with immunology of ageing, but a specialised journal in this area does not exist. Immunity & Ageing will be an opportunity to focus on this topic, which is emerging as one of the critical mechanisms in ageing.
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