Aged mice display an altered pulmonary host response to Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) infections

C. A. Mares, S. S. Ojeda, Q. Li, E. G. Morris, J. J. Coalson, J. M. Teale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Aging is a complex phenomenon that has been shown to affect many organ systems including the innate and adaptive immune systems. The current study was designed to examine the potential effect of immunosenescence on the pulmonary immune response using a Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) inhalation infection model. F. tularensis is a Gram-negative intracellular pathogen that can cause a severe pneumonia. In this study both young (8-12 week old) and aged (20-24 month old) mice were infected intranasally with LVS. Lung tissues from young and aged mice were used to assess pathology, recruitment of immune cell types and cytokine expression levels at various times post infection. Bacterial burdens were also assessed. Interestingly, the lungs of aged animals harbored fewer organisms at early time points of infection (day 1, day 3) compared with their younger counterparts. In addition, only aged animals displayed small perivascular aggregates at these early time points that appeared mostly mononuclear in nature. However, the kinetics of infiltrating polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) and increased cytokine levels measured in the bronchial alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were delayed in infected aged animals relative to young infected animals with neutrophils appearing at day 5 post infection (PI) in the aged animals as opposed to day 3 PI in the young infected animals. Also evident were alterations in the ratios of mononuclear to PMNs at distinct post infection times. The above evidence indicates that aged mice elicit an altered immune response in the lung to respiratory F. tularensis LVS infections compared to their younger counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Bacterial infection
  • Host response
  • Lung
  • Tularemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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