T cells are vulnerable to age-associated changes. Vitamin E has been shown to improve T cell functions in the old. We studied gene expression profiles of T cells to better understand the underlying mechanisms of age and vitamin E-induced changes in T cell function. Young and old C57BL mice were fed diets containing 30 (control) or 500 (supplemented) ppm of vitamin E for 4 wk. Gene expression profiles of T cells were assessed using microarray analysis with/without anti-CB3/anti-CB28 stimulation. Genes associated with cytokines/chemokines, transcriptional regulation, signal transduction, cell cycle, and apoptosis were significantly up-regulated upon stimulation. Higher SOCS3 and lower growth factor independent 1 (Gfi-1) expression in old T cells may contribute to age-associated decline in proliferation. Higher Gadd45 and lower Bcl2 expression may contribute to increased apoptosis in old T cells. Vitamin E supplementation resulted in higher expression of genes involved in cell cycle regulation (Ccnb2, Cdc2, Cdc6) in old T cells. Vitamin E supplementation resulted in higher up-regulation of IL-2 expression in young and old T cells and lower up-regulation of IL-4 expression in old T cells following stimulation. These findings suggest that aging has significant effects on the expression of genes associated with signal transduction, transcriptional regulation, and apoptosis pathways in T cells, and vitamin E has a significant impact on the expression of genes associated with cell cycle and Th1/Th2 balance in old T cells. Further studies are needed to determine whether these changes are due to the effects of aging at a single-cell level or to the shift in the ratio of naïve:memory T cells with age.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy