Aging splenocyte and thymocyte apoptosis is associated with enhanced expression of p53, bax, and caspase-3.Mol Cell Biol Res Commun. 1999 Apr; 1(1):78-81.MC
Aging is associated with altered immune function. We previously reported that splenocytes and thymocytes undergo apoptosis with aging in rats. In the present study, we examined the expression of genes associated with apoptosis in splenocytes and thymus in aging rats. We evaluated the expression of bax, interleukin 1-beta-converting enzyme (ICE)/ced-3 protease family, caspase-3 and tumor suppressor gene p53. Rats in age groups of 6, 24, 48, and 96 weeks were sacrificed; thymocytes and splenocytes were isolated followed by lysis in a modified RIPA buffer containing protease inhibitors. Western blot analysis of proteins was performed by probing immunoblots with antibodies against p53, bax and PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase). Increased aging was associated with enhanced expression of bax, p53 and cleavage of PARP by Caspase-3. The expression of p53 and cleavage of PARP indicates the presence of damaged DNA; nevertheless, the cleavage of PARP or activation of caspase-3 may be playing an important role in the initiation of early events in apoptosis. These results suggest that aging of splenocytes and thymocytes is associated with the expression of cell death genes. The present study provides an insight into age-associated altered immune function.