Non-human primates, notably rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta, RM), provide a robust experimental model to investigate the immune response to and effective control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. Changes in the function of immune cells and immunosenescence may contribute to the increased susceptibility of the elderly to tuberculosis. The goal of this study was to examine the impact of age on M. tuberculosis host-pathogen interactions following infection of primary alveolar macrophages derived from young and aged rhesus macaques. Of specific interest to us was whether the mycobactericidal capacity of autophagic macrophages was reduced in older animals since decreased autophagosome formation and autophagolysosomal fusion has been observed in other cells types of aged animals. Our data demonstrate that alveolar macrophages from old RM are as competent as those from young animals for autophagic clearance of M. tuberculosis infection and controlling mycobacterial replication. While our data do not reveal significant differences between alveolar macrophage responses to M. tuberculosis by young and old animals, these studies are the first to functionally characterize autophagic clearance of M. tuberculosis by alveolar macrophages from RM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)