Evaluation of T-cell aging-related immune phenotypes in the context of biological aging and multimorbidity in the Health and Retirement Study

Ramya Ramasubramanian, Helen C.S. Meier, Sithara Vivek, Eric Klopack, Eileen M. Crimmins, Jessica Faul, Janko Nikolich-Žugich, Bharat Thyagarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cellular changes in adaptive immune system accompany the process of aging and contribute to an aging-related immune phenotype (ARIP) characterized by decrease in naïve T-cells (TN) and increase in memory T-cells (TM). A population-representative marker of ARIP and its associations with biological aging and age-related chronic conditions have not been studied previously. Methods: We developed two ARIP indicators based on well understood age-related changes in T cell distribution: TN/(TCM (Central Memory) + TEM (Effector Memory) + TEFF (Effector)) (referred as TN/TM) in CD4 + and CD8 + T-cells. We compared them with existing ARIP measures including CD4/CD8 ratio and CD8 + TN cells by evaluating associations with chronological age and the Klemera Doubal measure of biological age (measured in years) using linear regression, multimorbidity using multinomial logistic regression and two-year mortality using logistic regression. Results: CD8 + TN and CD8 + TN/TM had the strongest inverse association with chronological age (beta estimates: -3.41 and -3.61 respectively; p-value < 0.0001) after adjustment for sex, race/ethnicity and CMV status. CD4 + TN/TM and CD4 + TN had the strongest inverse association with biological age (β = -0.23; p = 0.003 and β = -0.24; p = 0.004 respectively) after adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity and CMV serostatus. CD4/CD8 ratio was not associated with chronological age or biological age. CD4 + TN/TM and CD4 + TN was inversely associated with multimorbidity. For CD4 + TN/TM, people with 2 chronic conditions had an odds ratio of for 0.74 (95%CI: 0.63–0.86 p = 0.0003) compared to those without any chronic conditions while those with 3 chronic conditions had an odds ratio of 0.75 (95% CI: 0.63–0.90; p = 0.003) after adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, CMV serostatus, smoking, and BMI. The results for the CD4 + TN subset were very similar to the associations seen with the CD4 + TN/TM. CD4 + TN/TM and CD4 + TN were both associated with two-year mortality (OR = 0.80 (95% CI: 0.67–0.95; p = 0.01) and 0.81 (0.70–0.94; p = 0.01), respectively). Conclusion: CD4 + TN/TM and CD4 + TN had a stronger association with biological age, age-related morbidity and mortality compared to other ARIP measures. Future longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the utility of the CD4 + subsets in predicting the risk of aging-related outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
JournalImmunity and Ageing
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Adaptive immunity
  • Biological aging
  • Health and Retirement Study
  • Immune aging
  • Multimorbidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Aging

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