SENS PubMed Publication Search
Lifelong cytomegalovirus and early-LIFE irradiation synergistically potentiate age-related defects in response to vaccination and infection
Jason L Pugh 1 2 3, Christopher P Coplen 1 2, Alona S Sukhina 1, Jennifer L Uhrlaub 1 2, Jose Padilla-Torres 1, Tomonori Hayashi 4, Janko Nikolich-Žugich 1 2 3 5
While whole-body irradiation (WBI) can induce some hallmarks of immune aging, (re)activation of persistent microbial infection also occurs following WBI and may contribute to immune effects of WBI over the lifespan. To test this hypothesis in a model relevant to human immune aging, we examined separate and joint effects of lifelong latent murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) and of early-life WBI over the course of the lifespan. In late life, we then measured the response to a West Nile virus (WNV) live attenuated vaccine, and lethal WNV challenge subsequent to vaccination. We recently published that a single dose of non-lethal WBI in youth, on its own, was not sufficient to accelerate aging of the murine immune system, despite widespread DNA damage and repopulation stress in hematopoietic cells. However, 4Gy sub-lethal WBI caused manifest reactivation of MCMV. Following vaccination and challenge with WNV in the old age, MCMV-infected animals experiencing 4Gy, but not lower, dose of sub-lethal WBI in youth had reduced survival. By contrast, old irradiated mice lacking MCMV and MCMV-infected, but not irradiated, mice were both protected to the same high level as the old non-irradiated, uninfected controls. Analysis of the quality and quantity of anti-WNV immunity showed that higher mortality in MCMV-positive WBI mice correlated with increased levels of MCMV-specific immune activation during WNV challenge. Moreover, we demonstrate that infection, including that by WNV, led to MCMV reactivation. Our data suggest that MCMV reactivation may be an important determinant of increased late-life mortality following early-life irradiation and late-life acute infection.