Perturbation of the T cell receptor repertoire occurs with increasing age in dogs
Immunosenescence is the gradual deterioration in immune system function associated with ageing. This decline is partly due to involution of the thymus, which leads to a reduction in the output of naive T cells into the circulating lymphocyte pool. Expansion of existing naive and memory T cell populations, to compensate for the reduction in thymic output, can lead to reduced diversity in the T cell repertoire with increasing age, resulting in impairment of immune responses to novel antigenic challenges, such as during infection and vaccination. Since associations between T cell repertoire and age have only been examined in a limited number of species, to gain further insights into this relationship, we have investigated age-related changes in the canine T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire.
Blood samples were obtained from Labrador retriever dogs of varying ages and variation in the complementary determining region 3 (CDR3) of the T cell receptor beta (TCRB) chain was investigated. CDR3 size spectratyping was employed to evaluate clonal expansion/deletion in the T cell repertoire, allowing identification of profiles within individual variable (V) region families that skewed away from a Gaussian distribution. Older dogs (10–13 years) were found to have an increased number of TCRB V gene spectratypes that demonstrated a skewed distribution, compared with young dogs (≤3 years). Additionally, there was a reduction in the number of clonal peaks present in the spectratypes of old dogs, compared with those of young dogs. The study findings suggest that there is an age-associated disturbance in the diversity of the T cell receptor repertoire in dogs.