Age and menopause affect the expression of specific cytokines/chemokines in plasma and cervical lavage samples from female sex workers in Nairobi, Kenya
Plummer, Francis A
Ball, T B
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract Background Aging of the immune system, known as immunosenescence, is associated with profound changes in both innate and adaptive immune responses, resulting in increased susceptibility to infection and a decreased ability to respond to vaccination. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of age and menopause on the expression of 22 different cytokines/chemokines in both plasma and cervical lavage samples from female sex-worker cohort from Nairobi, Kenya (age range 20–65). Results Cytokine/chemokine levels were measured using a Miliplex multiplex assay (Millipore). We found that age positively correlated with MCP-1 (p = 0.0002) and IP-10 (p = 0.03) systemic cytokine expression, and that women over 50 expressed the highest levels of these cytokines, but also had elevated expression of MIG (ANOVA p = 0.0096) and MIP-3β(ANOVA p = 0.0434). We also found that IL-8 (p = 0.047) and sCD40L (p = 0.01) systemic expression negatively correlated with age. Further, MIG (p = 0.0081) and MCP-1 (p = 0.0157) were present at higher levels in post-menopausal women suggesting a potential estrogen dependant systemic regulation of these cytokines. In cervical lavage samples, age did not directly correlate with the expression of any of the tested cytokines/chemokines, however sIL-2Rα (ANOVA p = 0.0170) and IL-15 (ANOVA p = 0.0251)were significantly higher in women over 50. Menopause was shown to have a more profound effect on cytokine expression in the cervical mucosa with MIG (p = 0.0256), MIP-3α (p = 0.0245), IL-1β (p = 0.0261), IL-6 (p = 0.0462), IL-8 (p = 0.007), IP-10 (p = 0.0357) and MCP-1 (p = 0.0427) all significantly under-expressed in post-menopausal women. Conclusions This study demonstrates that aging and menopause-associated hormonal changes are associated with significant changes in systemic and mucosal cytokine/chemokine expression, which may have implications for the age-related decline in the ability to fight against infections.