Tag Archives: Senior immune system WebMD

Babraham Institute study: How to boost immune response to vaccines in older people

28 Mar

The WebMD article What Is Your Immune System? described the immune system:

You’ve heard of your immune system. But how much do you know about it?
There’s a good reason to find out. When you understand everything that it does for you, and how everyday things affect it, you can help it keep you well.
1. It Looks Out for You
Your immune system works to root out germs and other invaders that have no business in your body.
For example, if you inhale a cold virus through your nose, your immune system targets that virus and either stops it in its tracks or primes you to recover. It takes time to get over an infection, and sometimes you need medicine to help, but the immune system is the cornerstone of prevention and recovery.
2. It Likes It When You Relax
Do your best to tame your stress. When you’re wound up, your immune system doesn’t work as well as it does when you’re confident and mellow about your challenges. That may make you more likely to get sick.
3. It’s Got Agents Standing By.
Other than your nervous system, your immune system is the most complex system in your body. It’s made up of tissues, cells, and organs, including:
• Your tonsils
• Your digestive system
• Your bone marrow
• Your skin
• Your lymph nodes
• Your spleen
• Thin skin on the inside of your nose, throat, and genitals
All of these help create or store cells that work around the clock to keep your whole body healthy.
4. It Learns From Your Past
You’re born with a certain level of protection, or “immunity.” But it can get better.
Think of a baby or young child who comes down with colds, earaches, or other everyday illnesses often and babies who are breast feed continue to get antibodies from their mother while they are making their own.. Their immune system is creating a “bank”of antibodies as they are exposed to illnesses for the first time, enabling them to fight off future invaders.
Vaccines work in much the same way. They turn on your immune system by introducing your body to a tiny amount of a virus (usually a killed or weakened one). Your body makes antibodies in response that protects against threats like measles, whooping cough, flu, or meningitis.Then, when you come in contact with that virus in your everyday life, your immune system is already primed to kick in so that you don’t get sick….. https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/immune-system-function

The immune system of seniors is weaker than those of healthy young people.

Camille Noe Pagán wrote in the WebMD article, How Aging Affects Your Immune System:

What’s Happening With Your Immune System?
It’s a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs. Together, they defend your body against things that can cause infection, like bacteria.
Why does it ease a bit as you get older? That’s still a bit of a mystery.
“The medical community is still trying to determine exactly how and why immunity decreases with age,” says Kira Rubtsova, PhD. Rubtsova is an immunity researcher at National Jewish Health in Denver.
What researchers do know is that most older adults:
Don’t respond as well to vaccines: Your immune system includes T cells, which attack other, illness-causing cells. They’re able to “remember” an invader, then defend against it better later. When you’re older, you make fewer T cells, and most vaccines require new ones to work.
The exception? The shingles vaccine. That’s one of the reasons it works so well for the senior set.
Are more likely to get sick: Not only do you have fewer immune cells as you age, the ones you do have don’t communicate with each other as well. That means they take longer to react to harmful germs.
Recover from injuries, infection, and illness more slowly: “Your body produces fewer immune cells, including white blood cells,” Rubtsova says. “That can slow down healing.”
How Do You Know When It’s Happening?
There’s no set age when immunity decreases.
“It’s like gray hair — it happens for everyone at a different rate,” Rubtsova says. There’s no single test that can tell you that your immune system isn’t functioning optimally. “There are certain immune markers we can test for, but it’s not the same as being tested for, say, heart disease,” Glatt says.
That’s why it’s important to go to the doctor regularly, and get medical help if you get sick often or if you’re having trouble healing after an injury or illness.
How Can You Stay Healthy?
Stay on top of your health. If you have diabetes, arthritis, or other things that affect how you feel and function, follow your doctor’s recommendations. “Keeping illnesses like diabetes well-controlled takes less of a toll on your immune system,” Glatt says.
Sleep well. “Research clearly shows that too little sleep — or poor-quality sleep — lowers immunity, even in young healthy people,” says Gisele Wolf-Klein, MD. You should be getting at least 7 hours a night. If you snore or have trouble falling or staying asleep, see your doctor. You could have a sleep disorder.
Look for ways to reduce stress. Over time, stress may lessen your immune response. “When you’re constantly worried about something, it takes a toll on your body,” Wolf-Klein says. It can also trigger other issues, like poor sleep and a bad diet, which both may affect your immunity.
Steer clear of sick people. “The truth is, when you’re older, you have to be especially careful about germ exposure, because you’re more likely to become ill, too,” Wolf-Klein says. When you are around people who have contagious conditions, like a cold or the flu, try not to get too close, and wash your hands more often.
Don’t skip your vaccines. Even though they may not be as effective when you’re older, they’re still an important way to lower your risk of many serious illnesses, including the flu and pneumonia. Check with your doctor to make sure you’re up to date on your vaccinations.
Move more often. Moderate exercise helps keep you fit, which makes your immune system stronger. Research also suggests it helps cells move more freely, which helps them do their job better.
Eat well. There’s no one diet that improves immunity. But researchers do know that a varied diet full of vitamin- and mineral-rich foods (like fresh vegetables and fruit) helps your body — including your immune system — function at its best. Eating a healthy diet also helps you weigh what you should, which may put less stress on your body and improve immunity.
Don’t smoke. Smoking weakens your body’s immune response, making you more susceptible to illness and infection. Your doctor can help you figure out how you can quit….                                                                                                     https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/seniors-boost-immunity#1

See, 5 Ways Seniors Can Strengthen Their Immune System https://www.homecareassistancemesa.com/strengthen-seniors-immune-system

Science Daily reported in How to boost immune response to vaccines in older people: Apply immune expertise and some genital wart cream!

Research just published by the Linterman lab shows that the immune system of older mice can be given a helping hand by applying immunology expertise and some genital wart treatment (don’t try this at home just yet)!
Mice and humans show similar age-dependent changes in their immune system so this finding offers hope for easily increasing the robustness of vaccination response in the older population.
As we age, the function of our immune system declines, rendering us more susceptible to infections, and making us less able to generate protective immunity after vaccination. By understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underpin this poor response in older individuals, researchers in the Linterman lab were able to repurpose an existing treatment for genital warts, and demonstrate that this was effective in overcoming the age-related effects on two of the many cell types making up our immune system. The research is published online in the journal eLife.
Dr Michelle Linterman, a group leader in the Institute’s Immunology research programme, said: “The current coronavirus pandemic highlights that older members of our families and communities are more susceptible to the morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand how the immune system in older people works, and to explore how we might be able to boost their immune responses to vaccines to ensure they work well in this vulnerable part of our society.”
Vaccines work by generating antibodies that are able to block the ability of pathogens to infect us. Antibody secreting cells are produced in the germinal centre, immune reaction hubs that forms after infection or vaccination. With age, the magnitude and quality of the germinal centre reaction declines.
Immune cells called T follicular helper cells are essential to the germinal centre response. In this study the team used mice and humans to investigate why T follicular helper cell numbers decline with age, and if there is a way to boost them upon vaccination.
“The germinal centre response is a highly collaborative process that requires multiple cell types to interact at the right place and the right time. Therefore, it made sense to us that defects in one or more of these cell types could explain the poor germinal centre response observed in older individuals after vaccination,” explains Dr Linterman.
The researchers found that older mice and humans form fewer T follicular helper cells after vaccination, which is linked with a poor germinal centre response and antibody response…..      [Emphasis Added]                      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200327113752.htm

Citation:

How to boost immune response to vaccines in older people
Apply immune expertise and some genital wart cream!
Date: March 27, 2020
Source: Babraham Institute
Summary:
Identifying interventions that improve vaccine efficacy in older persons is vital to deliver healthy aging for an aging population. Immunologists have identified a route for counteracting the age-related loss of two key immune cell types by using genital wart cream to boost immune response to vaccination in aged mice. After this validation in mice, the findings offer an attractive intervention to tailor the make-up of vaccines for older people.

Journal Reference:
Marisa Stebegg, Alexandre Bignon, Danika Lea Hill, Alyssa Silva-Cayetano, Christel Krueger, Ine Vanderleyden, Silvia Innocentin, Louis Boon, Jiong Wang, Martin S Zand, James Dooley, Jonathan Clark, Adrian Liston, Edward Carr, Michelle A Linterman. Rejuvenating conventional dendritic cells and T follicular helper cell formation after vaccination. eLife, 2020; 9 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.52473

Here is the press release from Babraham Institute:

NEWS RELEASE 27-MAR-2020
How to boost immune response to vaccines in older people
Apply immune expertise and some genital wart cream!
BABRAHAM INSTITUTE
Research just published by the Linterman lab shows that the immune system of older mice can be given a helping hand by applying immunology expertise and some genital wart treatment (don’t try this at home just yet)!
Mice and humans show similar age-dependent changes in their immune system so this finding offers hope for easily increasing the robustness of vaccination response in the older population.
As we age, the function of our immune system declines, rendering us more susceptible to infections, and making us less able to generate protective immunity after vaccination. By understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underpin this poor response in older individuals, researchers in the Linterman lab were able to repurpose an existing treatment for genital warts, and demonstrate that this was effective in overcoming the age-related effects on two of the many cell types making up our immune system. The research is published online in the journal eLife.
Dr Michelle Linterman, a group leader in the Institute’s Immunology research programme, said: “The current coronavirus pandemic highlights that older members of our families and communities are more susceptible to the morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand how the immune system in older people works, and to explore how we might be able to boost their immune responses to vaccines to ensure they work well in this vulnerable part of our society.”
Vaccines work by generating antibodies that are able to block the ability of pathogens to infect us. Antibody secreting cells are produced in the germinal centre, immune reaction hubs that forms after infection or vaccination. With age, the magnitude and quality of the germinal centre reaction declines.
Immune cells called T follicular helper cells are essential to the germinal centre response. In this study the team used mice and humans to investigate why T follicular helper cell numbers decline with age, and if there is a way to boost them upon vaccination.
“The germinal centre response is a highly collaborative process that requires multiple cell types to interact at the right place and the right time. Therefore, it made sense to us that defects in one or more of these cell types could explain the poor germinal centre response observed in older individuals after vaccination,” explains Dr Linterman.
The researchers found that older mice and humans form fewer T follicular helper cells after vaccination, which is linked with a poor germinal centre response and antibody response. By developing our understanding of the cellular and molecular events occurring in the germinal centre after vaccination, the researchers identified that T follicular helper cells in older mice and people received less stimulatory interactions from their immune system co-workers. By using a cream (imiquimod, currently used to treat genital warts in humans) on the site of immunisation to boost the number of stimulatory cells, they were able to restore the formation of T follicular helper cells in older mice and also rescue the age-dependent defects in another immune cell type (dendritic cells). Encouragingly, this demonstrates that the age-related defects in T follicular helper cell formation in ageing are not irreversible, and can be overcome therapeutically.
The full picture and evaluation of whether this approach will work as an intervention in humans requires more research into why the germinal centre response changes with age, and what can be done to overcome this. Once achieved, it could be that clinical trials are established to incorporate this knowledge into new vaccine formulations for older people.
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Resources:

How Your Immune System Works – HowStuffWorks https://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/immune/immune-system3.htm

Difference Between Immune Response to Bacteria and Virus … https://pediaa.com/difference-between-immune-response-to-bacteria-and-virus

Bats’ immune system may be why their viruses can be deadly … https://www.sciencenews.org/article/bats-immune-system-viruses-ebola-marburg-people

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