With increasing age, individuals are more vulnerable to viral infections such as with influenza or the SARS-CoV-2 virus. One age-associated defect in human T cells is the reduced expression of miR-181a. miR-181ab1 deficiency in peripheral murine T cells causes delayed viral clearance after infection, resembling human immune aging. Here we show that naive T cells from older individuals as well as miR-181ab1–deficient murine T cells develop excessive replication stress after activation, due to reduced histone expression and delayed S-phase cell cycle progression. Reduced histone expression was caused by the miR-181a target SIRT1 that directly repressed transcription of histone genes by binding to their promoters and reducing histone acetylation. Inhibition of SIRT1 activity or SIRT1 silencing increased histone expression, restored cell cycle progression, diminished the replication-stress response, and reduced the production of inflammatory mediators in replicating T cells from old individuals. Correspondingly, treatment with SIRT1 inhibitors improved viral clearance in mice with miR-181a–deficient T cells after LCMV infection. In conclusion, SIRT1 inhibition may be beneficial to treat systemic viral infection in older individuals by targeting antigen-specific T cells that develop replication stress due to miR-181a deficiency.
Chulwoo Kim, Jun Jin, Zhongde Ye, Rohit R. Jadhav, Claire E. Gustafson, Bin Hu, Wenqiang Cao, Lu Tian, Cornelia M. Weyand, Jörg J. Goronzy
Alveolar macrophages orchestrate the response to viral infections. Age-related changes in these cells may underlie the differential severity of pneumonia in older patients. We performed an integrated analysis of single-cell RNA-Seq data that revealed homogenous age-related changes in the alveolar macrophage transcriptome in humans and mice. Using genetic lineage tracing with sequential injury, heterochronic adoptive transfer, and parabiosis, we found that the lung microenvironment drove an age-related resistance of alveolar macrophages to proliferation that persisted during influenza A viral infection. Ligand-receptor pair analysis localized these changes to the extracellular matrix, where hyaluronan was increased in aged animals and altered the proliferative response of bone marrow–derived macrophages to granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Our findings suggest that strategies targeting the aging lung microenvironment will be necessary to restore alveolar macrophage function in aging.
Alexandra C. McQuattie-Pimentel, Ziyou Ren, Nikita Joshi, Satoshi Watanabe, Thomas Stoeger, Monica Chi, Ziyan Lu, Lango Sichizya, Raul Piseaux Aillon, Ching-I Chen, Saul Soberanes, Zhangying Chen, Paul A. Reyfman, James M. Walter, Kishore R. Anekalla, Jennifer M. Davis, Kathryn A. Helmin, Constance E. Runyan, Hiam Abdala-Valencia, Kiwon Nam, Angelo Y. Meliton, Deborah R. Winter, Richard I. Morimoto, Gökhan M. Mutlu, Ankit Bharat, Harris Perlman, Cara J. Gottardi, Karen M. Ridge, Navdeep S. Chandel, Jacob I. Sznajder, William E. Balch, Benjamin D. Singer, Alexander V. Misharin, G.R. Scott Budinger
Bone marrow (BM) hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) become dysfunctional during aging (i.e., they are increased in number but have an overall reduction in long-term repopulation potential and increased myeloid differentiation) compared with young HSCs, suggesting limited use of old donor BM cells for hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). BM cells reside in an in vivo hypoxic environment yet are evaluated after collection and processing in ambient air. We detected an increase in the number of both young and aged mouse BM HSCs collected and processed in 3% O2 compared with the number of young BM HSCs collected and processed in ambient air (~21% O2). Aged BM collected and processed under hypoxic conditions demonstrated enhanced engraftment capability during competitive transplantation analysis and contained more functional HSCs as determined by limiting dilution analysis. Importantly, the myeloid-to-lymphoid differentiation ratio of aged BM collected in 3% O2 was similar to that detected in young BM collected in ambient air or hypoxic conditions, consistent with the increased number of common lymphoid progenitors following collection under hypoxia. Enhanced functional activity and differentiation of old BM collected and processed in hypoxia correlated with reduced “stress” associated with ambient air BM collection and suggests that aged BM may be better and more efficiently used for HCT if collected and processed under hypoxia so that it is never exposed to ambient air O2.
Maegan L. Capitano, Safa F. Mohamad, Scott Cooper, Bin Guo, Xinxin Huang, Andrea M. Gunawan, Carol Sampson, James Ropa, Edward F. Srour, Christie M. Orschell, Hal E. Broxmeyer
Age-related sarcopenia constitutes an important health problem associated with adverse outcomes. Sarcopenia is closely associated with fat infiltration in muscle, which is attributable to interstitial mesenchymal progenitors. Mesenchymal progenitors are non-myogenic in nature but are required for homeostatic muscle maintenance. However, the underlying mechanism of mesenchymal progenitor-dependent muscle maintenance is not clear, nor is the precise role of mesenchymal progenitors in sarcopenia. Here, we show that mice genetically engineered to specifically deplete mesenchymal progenitors exhibited phenotypes markedly similar to sarcopenia, including muscle weakness, myofiber atrophy, alterations of fiber types, and denervation at neuromuscular junctions. Through searching for genes responsible for mesenchymal progenitor-dependent muscle maintenance, we found that Bmp3b is specifically expressed in mesenchymal progenitors, whereas its expression level is significantly decreased during aging or adipogenic differentiation. The functional importance of Bmp3b in maintaining myofiber mass as well as muscle-nerve interaction was demonstrated using knockout mice and cultured cells treated with Bmp3b. Furthermore, the administration of recombinant BMP3B in aged mice reversed their sarcopenic phenotypes. These results reveal previously unrecognized mechanisms by which the mesenchymal progenitors ensure muscle integrity and suggest that age-related changes in mesenchymal progenitors have a considerable impact on the development of sarcopenia.
Akiyoshi Uezumi, Madoka Ikemoto-Uezumi, Heying Zhou, Tamaki Kurosawa, Yuki Yoshimoto, Masashi Nakatani, Keisuke Hitachi, Hisateru Yamaguchi, Shuji Wakatsuki, Toshiyuki Araki, Mitsuhiro Morita, Harumoto Yamada, Masashi Toyoda, Nobuo Kanazawa, Tatsu Nakazawa, Jun Hino, So-ichiro Fukada, Kunihiro Tsuchida
Microglia maintain homeostasis in the brain. However, with age, they become primed and respond more strongly to inflammatory stimuli. We show here that microglia from aged mice upregulated mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 signaling regulating translation, as well as protein levels of inflammatory mediators. Genetic ablation of mTOR signaling showed a dual, yet contrasting effect on microglia priming: it caused an NF-kB-dependent upregulation of priming genes at mRNA level; however, mice displayed reduced cytokine protein levels, diminished microglia activation and milder sickness behavior. The effect on translation was dependent on reduced phosphorylation of 4EBP1, resulting in decreased binding of eIF4E to eIF4G. Similar changes were present in aged human microglia and in damage-associated microglia, indicating upregulation of mTOR-dependent translation is an essential step licensing microglia priming in aging and neurodegeneration.
Lily Keane, Ignazio Antignano, Sean-Patrick Riechers, Raphael Zollinger, Anaelle A. Dumas, Nina Offermann, Maria E. Bernis, Jenny Russ, Frederike J. Graelmann, Patrick N. McCormick, Julia Esser, Dario Tejera, Ai Nagano, Jun Wang, Claude Chelala, Yvonne Biederbick, Annett Halle, Paolo Salomoni, Michael Thomas Heneka, Melania Capasso
Dysfunction of immune and vascular systems has been implicated in aging and Alzheimer’s disease; however, their interrelatedness remains poorly understood. The complement pathway is a well-established regulator of innate immunity in the brain. Here, we report robust age-dependent increases in vascular inflammation, peripheral lymphocyte infiltration, and blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability. These phenotypes were subdued by global inactivation and by endothelial-specific ablation of C3ar1. Using an in vitro model of the BBB, we identify intracellular Ca2+ as a downstream effector of C3a-C3aR signaling and a functional mediator of VE-cadherins junction and barrier integrity. Endothelial C3ar1 inactivation also dampened microglia reactivity and improved hippocampal and cortical volumes in the aging brain, demonstrating a crosstalk between brain vasculature dysfunction and immune cell activation and neurodegeneration. Further, prominent C3aR-dependent vascular inflammation is also observed in a tau transgenic mouse model. Our studies suggest that heightened C3a-C3aR signaling through endothelial cells promotes vascular inflammation and BBB dysfunction and contribute to overall neuroinflammation in aging and neurodegenerative disease.
Nicholas E. Propson, Ethan R. Roy, Alexandra Litvinchuk, Jorg Köhl, Hui Zheng
Senescent cells (SnCs) are implicated in the pathogenesis of age-related diseases including osteoarthritis (OA), in part via expression of a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) that includes immunologically relevant factors and cytokines. In a model of posttraumatic OA (PTOA), anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) induced a type 17 immune response in the articular compartment and draining inguinal lymph nodes (LNs) that paralleled expression of the senescence marker p16INK4a (Cdkn2a) and p21 (Cdkn1a). Innate lymphoid cells, γδ+ T cells, and CD4+ T cells contributed to IL-17 expression. Intra-articular injection of IL-17–neutralizing antibody reduced joint degeneration and decreased expression of the senescence marker Cdkn1a. Local and systemic senolysis was required to attenuate tissue damage in aged animals and was associated with decreased IL-17 and increased IL-4 expression in the articular joint and draining LNs. In vitro, we found that Th17 cells induced senescence in fibroblasts and that SnCs skewed naive T cells toward Th17 or Th1, depending on the presence of TGF-β. The SASP profile of the inflammation-induced SnCs included altered Wnt signaling, tissue remodeling, and cell-cycle pathways not previously implicated in senescence. These findings provide molecular targets and mechanisms for senescence induction and therapeutic strategies to support tissue healing in an aged environment.
Heather J. Faust, Hong Zhang, Jin Han, Matthew T. Wolf, Ok Hee Jeon, Kaitlyn Sadtler, Alexis N. Peña, Liam Chung, David R. Maestas Jr., Ada J. Tam, Drew M. Pardoll, Judith Campisi, Franck Housseau, Daohong Zhou, Clifton O. Bingham III, Jennifer H. Elisseeff
As a hallmark of immunological ageing, the low-grade, chronic inflammation with accumulation of effector-memory T cells contributes to the increased susceptibility of many ageing-related diseases. While the proinflammatory state of aged T cells indicates a dysregulation of immune homeostasis, whether and how ageing drives regulatory T (Treg) cell ageing and alters their function is not fully understood due to a lack of specific ageing markers. Here, by a combination of cellular, molecular and bioinformatic approaches, we discover that Treg cells senesce more severely than conventional T (Tconv) cells during ageing. We found Treg cells from aged mice were less efficient than young Treg cells to suppress Tconv cell function in an inflammatory-bowel-disease model and to prevent Tconv cell ageing in the irradiation-induced ageing model. Furthermore, we revealed that DCAF1 (DDB1 and CUL4 associated factor 1) was downregulated in aged Treg cells and was critical to restrain Treg cell ageing via glutathione S-transferase P (GSTP1) regulated reactive-oxygen-species (ROS). Importantly, interfering with GSTP1 and ROS pathways reinvigorated the proliferation and function of aged Treg cells. Therefore, our studies uncover an important role of DCAF1-GSTP1-ROS axis in Treg cell senescence, which leads to uncontrolled inflammation and immunological ageing.
Zengli Guo, Gang Wang, Bing Wu, Wei-Chun Chou, Liang Cheng, Chenlin Zhou, Jitong Lou, Di Wu, Lishan Su, Junnian Zheng, Jenny Pan-Yun Ting, Yisong Y. Wan
Vaccination is a mainstay in preventive medicine, reducing morbidity and mortality from infection, largely by generating pathogen-specific neutralizing antibodies. However, standard immunization strategies are insufficient with increasing age due to immunological impediments, including defects in T follicular helper (Tfh) cells. Here, we found that Tfh generation is inversely linked to the expression of the ecto-NTPDase CD39 that modifies purinergic signaling. The lineage-determining transcription factor BCL6 inhibited CD39 expression, while increased Tfh frequencies were found in individuals with a germline polymorphism preventing transcription of ENTPD1, encoding CD39. In in vitro human and in vivo mouse studies, Tfh generation and germinal center responses were enhanced by reducing CD39 expression through the inhibition of the cAMP/PKA/p-CREB pathway, or by blocking adenosine signaling downstream of CD39 using the selective adenosine A2a receptor antagonist istradefylline. Thus, purinergic signaling in differentiating T cells can be targeted to improve vaccine responses, in particular in older individuals who have increased CD39 expression.
Wenqiang Cao, Fengqin Fang, Timothy Gould, Xuanying Li, Chulwoo Kim, Claire Gustafson, Simon Lambert, Cornelia M. Weyand, Jörg J. Goronzy
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key regulator at the molecular level to maintain energy metabolism homeostasis. Mammalian AMPK is a heterotrimeric complex and its catalytic α subunit exists in two isoforms: AMPKα1 and AMPKα2. Recent studies suggest a role of AMPKα over-activation in AD-associated synaptic failure. However, whether AD-associated dementia can be improved by targeting AMPK remains unclear, and roles of AMPKα isoforms in AD pathophysiology are not understood. Here we showed distinct disruption of hippocampal AMPKα isoform expression patterns in post mortem human AD patients and AD model mice. We further investigated the effects of brain- and isoform-specific AMPKα repression on AD pathophysiology. We found that repression of AMPKα1 alleviated cognitive deficits and synaptic failure displayed in two separate lines of AD model mice. In contrast, AMPKα2 suppression did not alter AD pathophysiology. Using unbiased mass spectrometry-based proteomics analysis, we identified distinct patterns of protein expression associated with specific AMPKα isoform suppression in AD model mice. Further, AD-associated hyper-phosphorylation of eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2) was blunted with selective AMPKα1 inhibition. Our findings reveal isoform-specific roles of AMPKα in AD pathophysiology, thus providing insights into potential therapeutic strategy for AD and related dementia syndromes.
Helena R. Zimmermann, Wenzhong Yang, Nicole P. Kasica, Xueyan Zhou, Xin Wang, Brenna C. Beckelman, Jingyun Lee, Cristina M. Furdui, C. Dirk Keene, Tao Ma
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