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Defining the mechanisms underlying reduced immunity to Streptococcus pneumoniae with age

Torrente Gonçalves, Mariana (2016) Defining the mechanisms underlying reduced immunity to Streptococcus pneumoniae with age. In: University of Birmingham Graduate School Research Poster Conference 2016, 14th June 2016, University of Birmingham. (Unpublished)

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The increase in the elderly population is impacting the social and economic aspects of the modern world as increasing longevity is not matched by an increasing healthy lifespan. Increased infections are a major component of ill health in old age. The aged immune system fails to respond properly to many infections such as pneumonia, caused mainly by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is responsible for high rates of death among the elderly. Here we studied the impact of age on the function of neutrophils, immune cells crucial for immunity to S. pneumoniae. Blood from healthy young (n=3, <30 years) and elderly (n=3, >65 years) volunteers was stimulated by antibody or complement-bound live or dead S. pneumoniae serotype 4 (TIGR4 strain). The amount of bacteria taken up by neutrophils and their production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), used to kill bacteria, was measured by flow-cytometry. The ability of neutrophils to trap S. pneumoniae extracellularly using a web made of extruded DNA (neutrophil extracellular traps, NETs) was also analysed by counting the remaining viable bacteria after incubation with neutrophils. We found that elderly neutrophils phagocytosed and produced ROS less well in response to S. pneumoniae, but this could be overcome if complement was bound to the bacteria. Although only n=1, preliminary data showed that NETs trapping of S. pneumoniae was lower (40%) in the elderly compared to young neutrophils (57%). Our data indicate that neutrophils from the elderly can produce ROS and phagocytose S. pneumoniae but may have impaired NET trapping ability.

Type of Work:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
Department:Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Additional Information:

MDS Winner.
Research Supervisor: Prof Janet Lord, Prof Tim Mitchell & Dr Elizabeth Sapey

Date:14 June 2016
Series/Collection Name:Prizewinners from the Graduate School Research Poster Conference 2016
Subjects:Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
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Copyright Status:This poster is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this poster must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged.
Copyright Holders:The Author
ID Code:2975

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