Preserved ex vivo inflammatory status and cytokine responses in naturally long-lived mice.
Preserved immune cell function has been reported in mice that achieve extreme longevity. Since cytokines are major modulators of immune responses, we aimed to determine the levels of 21 cytokines secreted ex vivo by peritoneal leukocytes cultured under basal- and mitogen- (conconavalin A (ConA) and LPS) stimulated conditions in middle-aged (44 ± 4 weeks), old (69 ± 4 weeks), very old (92 ± 4 weeks), and extreme long-lived (125 ± 4 weeks) ICR (CD1) female mice. The secretion of cytokines was measured by multiplex luminometry. Increased basal levels of proinflammatory IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12 (p70), IFN-γ, and TNF-α were seen in the old and very old animals, accompanied by decreased IL-10. In contrast, the extreme long-lived mice maintained the overall cytokine profile of middle-aged mice, though the basal secretion of IL-2, IL-9, IL-10, IL-13, and IL-12 (p40) was raised. Under LPS- and/or ConA-stimulated conditions, leukocytes from old and very old animals showed a significantly impaired response with respect to secretion of Th1 cytokines IL-3, IL-12p70, IFN-γ, and TNF-α; Th2 cytokines IL-6, IL-4, IL-10, and IL-13; and the regulatory cytokines IL-2, IL-5, and IL-17. Extreme long-lived mice preserved the middle-aged-like cytokine profile, with the most striking effect seen for the IL-2 response to ConA, which was minimal in the old and very old mice but increased with respect to the middle-aged level in extreme long-lived mice. Chemokine responses in regard to KC, MCP-1, MIP1β, and RANTES were more variable, though similar secretion of LPS-induced KC and MCP-1 and ConA-induced MCP-1, MIP-1β, and RANTES was found in long-lived and middle-aged mice. Thus, extreme long-lived animals showed only a minimal inflammatory profile, much lower than the old and very old groups and also lower than the middle-aged, which is likely mediated by the increase of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10. This was coupled to a robust response to immune stimuli across an appropriated Th1/Th2 and regulatory cytokine secretion, which seems to be a factor contributing to the preserved immune response reported in very long-lived animals and thus to their extended longevity.
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