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Effects of aging on influenza virus infection dynamics.

ABSTRACT: The consequences of influenza virus infection are generally more severe in individuals over 65 years of age (the elderly). Immunosenescence enhances the susceptibility to viral infections and renders vaccination less effective. Understanding age-related changes in the immune system is crucial in order to design prophylactic and immunomodulatory strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Here, we propose different mathematical models to provide a quantitative understanding of the immune strategies in the course of influenza virus infection using experimental data from young and aged mice. Simulation results suggested a central role of CD8(+) T cells for adequate viral clearance kinetics in young and aged mice. Adding the removal of infected cells by natural killer cells did not improve the model fit in either young or aged animals. We separately examined the infection-resistant state of cells promoted by the cytokines alpha/beta interferon (IFN-?/?), IFN-?, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?). The combination of activated CD8(+) T cells with any of the cytokines provided the best fits in young and aged animals. During the first 3 days after infection, the basic reproductive number for aged mice was 1.5-fold lower than that for young mice (P < 0.05).The fits of our models to the experimental data suggest that the increased levels of IFN-?/?, IFN-?, and TNF-? (the "inflammaging" state) promote slower viral growth in aged mice, which consequently limits the stimulation of immune cells and contributes to the reported impaired responses in the elderly. A quantitative understanding of influenza virus pathogenesis and its shift in the elderly is the key contribution of this work.

SUBMITTER: Hernandez-Vargas EA 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3993746 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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