Host defenses in the aged: Evaluation of components of the inflammatory and immune responses

J. P. Phair, C. A. Kauffman, A. Bjornson, J. Gallagher, L. Adams, E. V. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Host defenses were evaluated in 70 healthy aged volunteers. Individuals who had diseases or who were taking medication known to affect the inflammatory and immune responses were excluded from the study. Volunteers were followed for 24 months to correlate their state of health with the evaluation of host defenses. Polymorphonuclear leukocyte function and the serum opsonic capacity for Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus were normal. Assays of complement components and activity revealed unexplained elevations in native C3 and properdin, normal concentrations of factor B, normal conversion of C3 by inulin, and normal levels of hemolytic complement. The levels of IgG and IgA did not differ from levels noted in younger controls, but the concentration of IgM was decreased and that of IgE increased. The prevalence of autoantibodies was low. None of the volunteers were anergic, but lymphocyte responses to mitogens were depressed in three-day cultures. The number and percentages of E-rosette-forming cells and cells bearing surface IgD or IgM were normal. No lymphopenia was noted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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