Transcriptional analysis reveals gender-specific changes in the aging of the human immune system
Marttila, Saara; Jylhävä, Juulia; Nevalainen, Tapio; Nykter, Matti; Jylhä, Marja; Hervonen, Antti; Tserel, Liina; Peterson, Pärt; Hurme, Mikko (2013)
Biolääketieteellisen teknologian yksikkö
Plos ONE 8 6
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Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Public Library of Science open access
Aging and gender have a strong influence on the functional capacity of the immune system. In general, the immune response in females is stronger than that in males, but there is scant information about the effect of aging on the gender difference in the immune response. To address this question, we performed a transcriptomic analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells derived from elderly individuals (nonagenarians, n = 146) and young controls (aged 19–30 years, n = 30). When compared to young controls, we found 339 and 248 genes that were differentially expressed (p<0.05, fold change >1.5 or <−1.5) in nonagenarian females and males, respectively, 180 of these genes were changed in both genders. An analysis of the affected signaling pathways revealed a clear gender bias: there were 48 pathways that were significantly changed in females, while only 29 were changed in males. There were 24 pathways that were shared between both genders. Our results indicate that female nonagenarians have weaker T cell defenses and a more prominent pro-inflammatory response as compared to males. In males significantly fewer pathways were affected, two of which are known to be regulated by estrogen. These data show that the effects of aging on the human immune system are significantly different in males and females.
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