Production of the antioxidant hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) declines as immunosenescence develops in the elderly. Very old C57BL/6 female mice, survivors after 71% had died due to aging, were evaluated after DHEA supplementation for 6 weeks. DHEA significantly increased their T-cell proliferation, restored secretion of Th1 cytokines [interleukin (IL)-2], decreased interferon-γ (IFN-γ) production, and normalized secretion of Th2 cytokine (IL-4 and IL-6) by lowered production. Survival was significantly increased in the 29-month-old mice treated by DHEA. Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), the storage form of DHEA, has lowered immune dysfunction caused by increased oxidation during LP-BM5 murine retrovirus infection. To assert the synergistic effect of DHEA + antioxidant nutrients, 17-month-old mice were fed with antioxidants or antioxidants + DHEAS for 16 weeks. DHEAS + antioxidants significantly increased B-cell proliferation and IL-2 secretion, and maintained Th2 cytokine secretion and hepatic vitamin E levels nearer to that of old, uninfected mice than antioxidant supplementation alone. Our study suggests that DHEA alone, and especially DHEAS plus antioxidant nutrients, can prevent immune dysfunction in very old and in old, retrovirus-infected mice. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.
- B-cell proliferation
- T-cell proliferation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism