Human Monocytes - CD14, CD16 - Ziegler-Heitbrock


Phenotypic and functional characteristics of circulating monocytes of elderly persons


Aging is associated with impairment of immune functions. Age-dependent alterations in T-cells are well known. Although the pivotal role of monocytes in immune regulation by their production of proinflammatory and inhibitory cytokines is acknowledged, limited information is available on monocyte changes in aging. The present study focused on phenotypic changes in circulating monocytes in elderly subjects and in the level of cytokines they produce. The results demonstrated a significant expansion of CD14dim/CD16bright circulating monocytes in elderly. In contrast, the majority of circulating monocytes of healthy young individuals were CD14bright/CD16dim. The CD14dim/CD16bright monocytes are considered to have phenotypic evidence for activation. Furthermore, significant increases of constitutive production of monocytic cytokines including interleukin (IL)-1beta. IL-1 receptor antagonist, and IL-6 by nonstimulated monocytes from elderly was also indicative of activation. This was also observed when monocytes from elderly were cultured with autologous lymphocytes. However, after stimulation, significantly lowered IL-1beta production was observed and IL-6 and IL-10 tended to be higher in the elderly. Collectively, these results indicate that monocytes of aged individuals, in contrast to a younger population exhibit in vivo activation as well as imbalanced production of cytokines. Such age-related alterations in monocytes may contribute to impaired immune competence of aging.

Authors: Sadeghi HM, Schnelle JF, Thoma JK, Nishanian P, Fahey JL
Journal: Exp Gerontol 34: 959-970
Year: 1999
PubMed: Find in PubMed