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The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Murine models of premature ageing for the study of diet-induced immune changes: improvement of leucocyte functions in two strains of old prematurely ageing mice by dietary supplementation with sulphur-containing antioxidants.


PMID 20875196

Abstract

Several immune functions are markers of health, biological age and predictors of longevity. A chronic oxidative and inflammatory state is the main cause of ageing and the immune system is involved in the rate of ageing. Thus, several murine models of premature ageing have been proposed owing to their early immunosenescence and oxidative stress, such as ovariectomised rats and mice, obese rats and anxious mice. In the last model, the most extensively studied by us, mice showing anxiety have an aged immune function and redox status as well as a shorter longevity in comparison with animals without anxiety of the same chronological age, being denominated prematurely ageing mice. A confirmation of the above is that the administration of diets supplemented with antioxidants improves the redox status and immune functions and increases the longevity of prematurely ageing mice. Antioxidant precursors of glutathione such as thioproline or N-acetylcysteine, which have a relevant role in ageing, have been the most widely investigated in adult prematurely ageing mice in our laboratory. In the present work, we have studied the effects of the ingestion for 5 weeks of a diet supplemented with 0·1% (w/w) thioproline+N-acetylcysteine on several functions of leucocytes from chronological old (69-73 weeks of age) prematurely ageing mice of two strains (Swiss and BALB/c). The results show an improvement of the immune functions, with their values becoming closer to those in adult animals (24±2 weeks). Thus, an adequate nutrition with antioxidants, even in aged subjects, could be a good strategy to retard ageing.

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