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Effects of Chronic Viral Infection on Lymphocyte Populations in Middle-aged Baboons (Papio anubis).
Willis, Erin L
Eberle, Richard
Wolf, Roman F
White, Gary L
McFarlane, Dianne
Comparative medicine 2021 04 01;71: 177-187

Aging of the immune system is characterized by the loss of naïve T-cells, increased inflammation, and immune function impairment. Chronic infection with cytomegalovirus is thought to play a role in age-related changes in immunity. Therefore, to assess the effect of pathogens such as cytomegalovirus on the immune system, we determined lymphocyte populations and inflammatory markers over a 3-y period in captive, middle-age baboons, with various exposure to pathogens and shedding pressure. Groups included SPF (i.e., pathogen-negative; = 14); large-group, conventionally housed (CONV LG; pathogen- positive; = 14), and small-group, conventionally housed (CONV SM; pathogen-positive; = 7). All baboon groups showed a decrease in CD45RA+ CD28+ (i.e., naive) cells over time during middle age, but the rate of decline appeared faster in CONV LG baboons than in the other groups. In addition, the reduction in CD45RA+ CD28+ cells in the CONV LG baboons coincided with higher IgG levels against baboon cytomegalovirus, increased serum cortisol concentration, and a greater inflammatory phenotype. The results of this project support a role for cytomegalovirus infection in immune system alterations in middle-aged baboons.

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