Research: MARKO and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 150


MARKO and colleagues, Nutritional Immunology Laboratory, Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA, have investigated the anti-ageing properties of vitamin E in the immune system of mice.


Ageing is associated, in the immune system, with reduced Interleukin-2 production and T lymphocyte proliferation. Vitamin E supplementation, in aged animals and humans, increases cell division and Interleukin-2 production by T-cells. The immune synapse forms at the site of contact between a T-cell and an antigen-presenting cell 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 and thus the activation of T-cells.


Animal study using mice.


CD4(+) T-cells from old mice were significantly less likely to form an effective 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.


These data show, for the first time, that vitamin E significantly improves age-related T-cell activation in mice.


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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