The effect of age and telomere length on immune function in the horse

Madhu P. Katepalli, Amanda A. Adams, Teri L. Lear, David W. Horohov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Telomeres, specialized structures present at the ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes, function to maintain chromosome stability and integrity. Telomeres shorten with each cell division eventually leading to replicative senescence, a process thought to be associated with age-related decline in immune function. We hypothesized that shortened PBMC telomere length is a factor contributing to immunosenescence of the aged horse. Telomere length was assessed in 19 horses ranging in age from 1 to 25 years. Mitogen-induced 3H-thymidine incorporation, total serum IgG, and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression was also determined for each horse. Relative telomere length (RTL) was highly correlated with overall age. RTL was positively correlated with 3H-thymidine incorporation and total IgG. Expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines was negatively correlated with RTL. These measures were also correlated with age, as expected. However, RTL was not correlated with immunosenescence and inflammaging in the oldest horse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1415
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2008


  • Aged
  • Equine
  • Immunosenescence
  • Inflammaging
  • Telomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Developmental Biology


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