The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) may promote immunosenescence if not counterbalanced by the antioxidant systems. Cell membranes, proteins, and nucleic acids become the target of ROS and progressively lose their structure and functions. This process could lead to an impairment of the immune response. However, little is known about the capability of the immune cells of elderly individuals to dynamically counteract the oxidative stress. Here, the response of the main lymphocyte subsets to the induced oxidative stress in semisupercentenarians (CENT), their offspring (OFF), elderly controls (CTRL), and young individuals (YO) was analyzed using flow cytometry. The results showed that the ratio of the ROS levels between the induced and noninduced (I/NI) oxidative stress conditions was higher in CTRL and OFF than in CENT and YO, in almost all T, B, and NK subsets. Moreover, the ratio of reduced glutathione levels between I/NI conditions was higher in OFF and CENT compared to the other groups in almost all the subsets. Finally, we observed significant correlations between the response to the induced oxidative stress and the degree of methylation in specific genes on the oxidative stress pathway. Globally, these data suggest that the capability to buffer dynamic changes in the oxidative environment could be a hallmark of longevity in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology