Expression of c-fos, c-jun and jun B in peripheral blood lymphocytes from young and elderly adults

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The expression of c-fos, c-jun and jun B proto-oncogenes was studied in phytohemagglutinin (PHA) activated peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from young and aged humans. Specific mRNAs for c-fos and c-jun were detectable within 30 min after cell activation and reached maximal levels within 2 h. Both c-fos and jun B mRNAs decreased to pre-activation levels within 6 h, while c-jun mRNA remained elevated. In PHA-activated PBL, no age-related differences were observed in c-fos or jun B mRNA expression. However, c-jun mRNA levels decreased significantly (1.73 ± 0.08 vs. 1.16 ± 0.09 arbitrary units, P < 0.01, young vs. old) in PBL from elderly individuals activated with PHA. Because previous work has demonstrated that T cells from elderly individuals may display normal proliferative responses when activated via the anti-CD2 pathway, c-jun and jun B mRNA expression was also studied in anti-CD2-activated purified T cells. No age-related differences were found in the expression of either of these two proto-oncongenes by anti-CD2 activated T cells. These results suggest that the decreased IL-2 production and proliferative response displayed by PHA-activated PBL from elderly adults may be related to age-related changes in c-jun mRNA expression and in the ratio of c-fos to c-jun mRNA. © 1992.

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Mechanisms of Ageing and Development

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