New findings from researcher Joan Mannick shed light on the potential of mTOR inhibitors in improving immune function and combating age-related decline. Mannick’s study focused on rapamycin and its analog RAD001, an mTOR inhibitor, and its effects on immunosenescence, the age-related decline in immune function.
Immunosenescence poses a significant health challenge, as it leads to increased susceptibility to infections and reduced response to vaccines, including influenza vaccination.
The study built upon previous research showing that rapamycin, another mTOR inhibitor, extended the lifespan of mice and improved various aging-related conditions. In elderly mice, rapamycin treatment rejuvenated immune function, resulting in increased production of new lymphocytes, improved response to influenza vaccination, and even extended lifespan.
Mannick’s study aimed to investigate whether RAD001 could replicate these positive effects in elderly humans. The results were promising. RAD001 treatment appeared to ameliorate the age-related decline in immunological function in elderly volunteers, as evidenced by an enhanced response to influenza vaccination.
It is believed that RAD001 induced changes in specific cell populations that persisted even after treatment discontinuation. Notably, RAD001 reduced the percentage of PD-1-positive CD4 and CD8 T cells, which accumulate with age and exhibit diminished responses to antigen stimulation. By reducing PD-1 expression, RAD001 may have improved immune function and enhanced T cell responses in the elderly.
Furthermore, RAD001 treatment broadened the serologic response to influenza vaccination, leading to increased antibody titers against different strains of the virus. The results of Mannick’s research suggest that rapamycin seems to rejuvenate the immune system.