Research: MARKO and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 146

Abstract

MARKO and co-workers, Nutritional Immunology Laboratory, Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA, have found a mechanism of action of vitamin E in the immune system.

Background

Ageing is associated with reduced interleukin-2 production and T cell proliferation. In the immune system Vitamin E supplementation increases cell division and interleukin-2 production by naive T cells. The immune synapse forms at the site of contact between a T cell and an APC and participates in T cell activation. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether vitamin E affects the redistribution of signalling proteins to the immune synapse.

Methodology

CD4(+) T cells were purified from mice and studied in vitro.

Results

CD4(+) T cells from old mice were significantly less likely to form an immune synapse than cells from young mice. Vitamin E increased the percentage of old CD4(+) T cells capable of forming an effective immune synapse. Similar results were found following in vivo supplementation with vitamin E. When compared with memory cells, naive T cells from aged mice were more defective in immune synapse formation and were more responsive to vitamin E supplementation.

Conclusion

These data show that vitamin E significantly improves communication between cells of the immune system.

References

Marko MG, Ahmed T, Bunnell SC, Wu D, Chung H, Huber BT, Meydani SN. Age-associated decline in effective immune synapse formation of CD4(+) T cells is reversed by vitamin E supplementation. Journal of Immunology 178 (3): 1443-1449, Feb 1, 2007.

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