In order to determine whether the spatial organization of FRCs and their expression of maturation markers (such as Ltbr) are altered with age, I performed immunofluorescence on frozen and cryosectioned whole lymph nodes from young and aged mice. My second aim was to perform RT-qPCR and flow cytometry in order to determine whether FRCs from aged mice have altered expression of maturation markers when compared to young mice. Thus, the goal of the honors thesis research was to determine whether lymph node FRCs in the aged mouse exhibit signs of impaired maturation in their protein and gene expression. As the immune system is profoundly impacted by aging, my project supports a cellular mechanism by which defects in aged tissues disrupt immune cell function. Therefore, understanding the age-associated decline in host defense could provide new avenues for the treatment of many diseases of which the elderly are most vulnerable, in particular re-emerging and novel pathological agents such as COVID-19.
- Age-associated changes to lymph node stromal cell maturation