Intraindividual Variability and the Effect of Acute Illness on Immune Senescence Markers
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OBJECTIVES: To determine the intraindividual variability and effect of acute illness on two markers of immune senescence. DESIGN: Cohort study with repeated measures. SETTING: Clinical research center and emergency department at two academic medical centers. PARTICIPANTS: Seventy-three subjects aged 65 and older enrolled in three groups: chronic underlying conditions but no acute illness, acutely ill with infection (community-acquired pneumonia), and acutely ill without infection. MEASUREMENTS: CD16 density on polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) and the proportion of CD8+ T cells that express CD28 determined twice in the nonacutely ill group and three times (Days 0, 30, and 60) in the acute illness groups. RESULTS: In the nonacutely ill group, PMN CD16 density demonstrated wide intraindividual variation, but there was a strong correlation for repeated measures of the percentage of CD8+ T cells expressing CD28 (correlation coefficient (r)=0.77, P<.001). Acute illness markedly affected both measures, regardless of whether the illness was due to infection; there was no correlation between measures obtained on Day 0 versus Day 30 for either immune marker. In contrast, a strong correlation existed between Day 30 and Day 60 values, particularly for CD8+/CD28+ percentage (r=0.58-0.86; P=.006 to <.001). CONCLUSION: The percentage of CD8+ T cells that express CD28 is a highly reproducible marker of immune senescence. Although acute illness affects this marker, 30 to 60 days of convalescence appears adequate for it to return to baseline.
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