Aging Immune System in Acute Ischemic Stroke
Sykes GP., Kamtchum-Tatuene J., Falcione S., Zehnder S., Munsterman D., Stamova B., Ander BP., Sharp FR., Jickling G.
Background and Purpose: With advancing age, alterations occur to the immune system, including an increase in inflammation (inflammaging) and a reduced ability to respond to new immune challenges. The role of an aging immune system in patients with ischemic stroke remains unclear, although age is an important determinant of stroke risk and outcome. This study assessed the aging immune system in patients with acute ischemic stroke by differences in leukocyte gene expression in relationship to age. Methods: Peripheral blood RNA from 2 cohorts with acute ischemic stroke was measured by whole-genome microarray, and genes associated with advancing age were identified (false discovery rate-corrected P <0.05, partial correlation coefficient <|0.3|). Genes were characterized by pathway analysis and compared with age-associated genes from nonstroke studies (n=3974). Results: There were 166 genes associated with age in cohort 1 (derivation cohort, n=94). Sixty-nine of these age-associated genes were verified in cohort 2 (validation cohort, n=79). Identified genes included a decrease in CR2 , CD27 , CCR7 , and NT5E . Genes were associated with altered B-cell receptor signaling, lymphocyte proliferation, and leukocyte homeostasis. Forty-three of the 69 age-associated genes in stroke were also associated with age in nonstroke studies. Conclusions: A relationship between leukocyte gene expression and age in patients with ischemic stroke was identified. The changes include alterations to the adaptive humoral immune system, which may influence age-related stroke risk and outcome.