Age-related variation in immunity in a wild mammal population

Daniel H Nussey, Kathryn Watt, Jill G Pilkington, Rose Zamoyska, Tom N McNeilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Age-related changes in immunity are well documented in humans and laboratory mammals. Using blood samples collected from wild Soay sheep, we show that pronounced differences in T-cell subsets and inflammatory markers amongst age classes are also evident under natural conditions. These shifts parallel those observed in mammals experiencing protected environments. We found progressive declines in the proportion of naïve CD4 T cells with age, a precipitous drop in γδ T cells after the second year of life and an increase in acute phase protein levels amongst geriatric sheep. Our findings suggest immune aging patterns observed in laboratory and domestic mammals may generalize to more complex, challenging environments and could have fitness costs under natural conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-180
Number of pages3
JournalAging Cell
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • lymphocytes
  • immunosenescence
  • inflammation
  • naïve T cells
  • soay sheep
  • γδ T cells


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