Breaking News
May 24, 2018 - Tau mutations may serve as novel risk factor for cancer
May 24, 2018 - Sun Pharma Announces FDA Approval of Yonsa (abiraterone acetate) to Treat Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
May 24, 2018 - Nurse dead in Congo as Ebola vaccination campaign starts
May 24, 2018 - Unique imaging technique identifies biomarkers of cellular damage done by diabetic retinopathy
May 24, 2018 - Study identifies key food allergy policies that parents want in schools to improve safety of kids
May 24, 2018 - Formaldehyde risk found to be higher in e-cigarettes than originally thought
May 24, 2018 - NIH commences first-in-human trial evaluating experimental treatment for Ebola
May 24, 2018 - Study finds no link between surveillance intensity and detection of recurrence or survival in CRC patients
May 24, 2018 - FDA Alert: Oral Over-the-Counter Benzocaine Products: Drug Safety Communication
May 24, 2018 - Fiber-fermenting bacteria improve health of type 2 diabetes patients
May 24, 2018 - Higher exposure to carbon monoxide in utero increases risk of poor lung function in infants
May 24, 2018 - Neurologists identify new type of vertigo
May 24, 2018 - Scientists identify new inherited neurodevelopmental disease
May 24, 2018 - New family support program improves patient-centered care and lowers hospitalization costs
May 24, 2018 - Researchers take important step toward finding protein biomarkers during cancer surgery
May 24, 2018 - Deadly form of black lung disease found to be increasing among U.S. coal miners
May 24, 2018 - Robust Immune Responses for Herpes Zoster Subunit Vaccine
May 24, 2018 - Optical Coherence Tomography | Texas Heart Institute
May 24, 2018 - Type 2 diabetes slowly rising in Auckland kids – Pacific and Māori have highest rates
May 24, 2018 - Study explores brain chemistry of alcohol exposure in people with family history of AUD
May 24, 2018 - Study shows AVATS procedure as safe, effective alternative for patients deemed ‘inoperable’
May 24, 2018 - Comparative Analysis of a Complex Monoclonal Antibody
May 24, 2018 - Penn investigators discover source of immune molecule involved in nasal polyps, asthma
May 24, 2018 - Berries and Grapes May Keep You Breathin’ Easy
May 24, 2018 - Access and utilization of dental services for Medicaid children 2013-2015
May 23, 2018 - New research raises concern about rate of postpartum hemorrhage
May 23, 2018 - Researchers create new modeling framework that takes a zoonotic perspective on Ebola
May 23, 2018 - Study compares bacteria in humans to the laboratory
May 23, 2018 - Frequent sauna bathing reduces risk of stroke
May 23, 2018 - Landmark trial to test implantable defibrillator in diabetic patients with history of heart attack
May 23, 2018 - Vitamin C consumption may reduce harm to baby’s lungs due to smoking during pregnancy
May 23, 2018 - Researchers complete genomic map of chronic lymphocytic leukemia
May 23, 2018 - Medical students take to the streets to learn about real world problems at the root of poor health
May 23, 2018 - New efforts to curb high blood pressure in Asia
May 23, 2018 - Malaria-causing parasite seeks refuge inside the liver to replicate and survive
May 23, 2018 - Slower rates of stimulation may be more effective in brain therapy, suggests research
May 23, 2018 - Study finds connection between one partner’s BMI and other spouse’s risk of developing diabetes
May 23, 2018 - Mapping the Genes Responsible for Pluripotency
May 23, 2018 - FDA Alert: Homeopathic Teething Drops, Nausea Drops, Intestinal Colic Drops, Stomach Calm, Expectorant Cough Syrup, Silver-Zinc Throat Spray, and Argentum Elixir by MBI Distributing: Recall
May 23, 2018 - Genetic fixer-uppers may predict bladder cancer prognosis
May 23, 2018 - Investigational technology could increase donor organ supply for lung transplants
May 23, 2018 - Prediabetic patients with OSA could lower their resting heart rates by using CPAP
May 23, 2018 - Schizophrenics’ blood samples feature genetic material from more types of microorganisms
May 23, 2018 - Subtle hearing deficits can change the brains of young people
May 23, 2018 - New study shows increased rates of hospitalization for suicide among youths
May 23, 2018 - Proportion of Drug-Intoxicated Organ Donors on the Rise in U.S.
May 23, 2018 - Using virtual biopsies to improve melanoma detection
May 23, 2018 - Compassion meditation training may increase brain’s resilience to suffering of other people
May 23, 2018 - New AAD PSA uses social media imagery to highlight tanning hazards
May 23, 2018 - Frequent MRSA surveillance could contain infection in newborns, study finds
May 23, 2018 - Medicaid expansion linked to reduction in ICU utilization
May 23, 2018 - Proteins moderating nicotine dependence may help fat cells burn energy
May 23, 2018 - Researchers identify mechanisms that regulate mammary gland development
May 23, 2018 - ‘Low-Alcohol’ Booze Labels May Backfire
May 23, 2018 - Social isolation could increase risk of death, hospitalizations for heart failure patients
May 23, 2018 - New research shows that children with autism are able to create imaginary friends
May 23, 2018 - New technology could make prosthetic use more intuitive and reliable
May 23, 2018 - HU researchers explore how simulated microgravity affects gene expression, muscle cell differentiation
May 23, 2018 - Researchers develop injectable bandage to stop fatal blood loss, activate wound healing
May 23, 2018 - Exercising for 4-5 days per week is needed to keep the heart young
May 23, 2018 - Porvair Sciences offers wide range of reagent reservoirs for use with automated liquid handling systems
May 23, 2018 - New study unravels secrets of HIV’s persistence
May 23, 2018 - IDF launches initiative to improve health services for displaced people with diabetes
May 23, 2018 - Maintaining healthy weight between early adulthood and middle age could help avoid diabetes
May 23, 2018 - DNA vaccine shows promise for colorectal cancer
May 23, 2018 - Abnormal brain connections seen in preschoolers with autism
May 23, 2018 - Study finds increase in number of calls to US Poison Control Centers about ADHD medication exposures
May 23, 2018 - Yoghurt before a meal packed with health benefits
May 23, 2018 - New tool predicts the lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s
May 23, 2018 - Scientists reveal mechanisms that may help preterm infants extend nephron development window
May 23, 2018 - Unnecessary antibiotic use for asthma exacerbations linked to increased hospital stays, costs
May 23, 2018 - Quitting cigarettes linked to better lung health than long-term light smoking
May 23, 2018 - Researchers shed light on how androgen deprivation therapy increases risk for cardiovascular mortality
May 23, 2018 - Ingesting blue dye tablet during colonoscopy aids in detecting difficult-to-see polyps
May 23, 2018 - Patients with low-back pain benefit from early physical therapy
May 23, 2018 - Researchers discover link between tuberculosis and Parkinson’s disease
May 23, 2018 - FDA Approves Doptelet (avatrombopag) for Chronic Liver Disease Patients with Thrombocytopenia who are Undergoing a Medical Procedure
May 23, 2018 - Is knee pain linked to depression?
May 23, 2018 - Research team uncovers new information that more accurately explains formation of tumors
May 23, 2018 - Brain stimulation shows promise in treating obesity by reducing food cravings
Anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for the elderly

Anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for the elderly

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

By identifying why skin immunity declines in old age, a UCL-led research team has found that an anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for elderly people.

The study, published today in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that an excessive inflammation reaction in older people can obstruct the immune system.

“We know that the immune system declines with age, and people can be affected by pathogens they were once immune to. We found that when it comes to cutaneous immunity – specific to skin – the immune system was being obstructed by skin cells that were too prone to producing inflammation responses. We’ve now identified a way to block that inflammation in the short term,” said the study’s senior author, Professor Arne Akbar (UCL Infection & Immunity).

To investigate immune responses, the researchers injected an antigen – a derivative of a pathogen that creates an immune response without inducing illness – into the skin of 175 participants (78 were over 65 years old and the rest were under 40). The pathogen was the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which causes chicken pox.

After a person contracts chicken pox, they become immune to VZV, but it can re-activate in old age and cause shingles if T cell immune responses aren’t strong enough. All study participants had previously had chicken pox, meaning they should be immune.

The researchers found that the older subjects exhibited weaker immune responses, as there was less T cell activation, and less reddening and swelling of the skin. The reduced response was not due to a lack of resident memory T cells present in the skin.

As a control, they also injected a benign saline solution into the other arm of each participant. The researchers noticed that even the saline solution brought about an inflammation response in some of the older participants. Those who had the strongest inflammation responses to the saline solution had the weakest immune responses to the VZV, suggesting that the excessive inflammation was inhibiting VZV-specific immunity.

“Normally inflammation is a healthy part of the body’s immune response, so we were surprised to find that in this case, too much inflammation was getting in the way of the rest of the body’s defenses,” said Professor Akbar.

By analyzing skin biopsies post-injection, the researchers found that the excessive inflammation was associated with activation of the p38 MAP kinase pathway. To test whether this enzyme was to blame, they conducted a follow-up test with 18 of the over-65 participants, who took Losmapimod, a drug that inhibits the enzyme in order to reduce acute inflammation responses. While the drug was designed for long-term use and has been trialed for treatments of COPD and arthritis, the participants only took the pill for 4 days, before once again being injected with the VZV antigen.

Losmapimod treatment successfully increased the immune responses to the VZV antigen.

“A short-term blockade of the inflammation response opened up a window of opportunity for the immune system to respond effectively,” explained the study’s first author, Dr Milica Vukmanovic-Stejic (UCL Infection & Immunity).

The researchers are currently planning a follow-up study which will test whether a flu vaccine is more effective for the elderly when combined with brief use of Losmapimod.

“Vaccine efficacy is known to decline in old age, so we’re hopeful that this novel application of the drug could help make vaccines more effective in older people,” said co-author Dr Veronique Birault (Francis Crick Institute).

Dr Jonathan Pearce, head of infections and immunity at the Medical Research Council (MRC), said: “This interesting study shows how our immune system changes as we age, with increased inflammatory responses potentially hindering our ability to raise a protective immune response to pathogens. This insight may help us improve vaccine responses in the elderly – a group at particular risk of diseases including influenza – by pre-treatment with anti-inflammatory agents.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles