Several studies have demonstrated T cell alteration and some features of immunosenescence in thalassemia major. Repeated alloimmunization converts naïve T-cells to memory cells and iron overload causes oxidative stress accelerating immune aging. To determine whether the alteration of T-cell cytokine is matched with early immune aging, the quantity of cytokine expressing T cells and their correlation to some immune aging markers were investigated. The proportion of IL2- and IFNγ expressing CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells was measured in 27 hepatitis B, C and HIV negative B-thalassemia patients and a control group aged 10–30 years, following stimulation for 6 h with streptococcus enterotoxin B and intracellular cytokine staining. This proportion then were analyzed versus the percentage of the T-cells expressing each phenotyping marker, CD27, CD28, CD57 and CCR7. CD4+ and CD8+ positive T cells expressing IL-2 were significantly lower in β-thalassemia major compared to matched controls, but not T cells expressing IFNγ. No significant difference was observed between splenectomized and non-splenectomized patients in cytokine expressing T cells. A negative correlation was noted between the percentage of T cells expressing IFNγ and T-cells expressing CD-27, but not other markers. Lower T cells expressing IL-2 may reveal the decline of naïve and central memory T cells and is likely to be a feature of early immune aging. Decreased antigenic stimulation and iron overload may help to prevent this phenomenon.
Thalassemia major Immunosenescence Cytokine Intracellular T lymphocyte
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This study was supported by the Deputy of Research and Technology of the Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences with the Grant No. 916 obtained by first author.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declared no competing interests.
Ethical Approval for the study was obtained from the Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences Ethics Committee. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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