Effect of age on immune parameters and the immune response of dogs to vaccines: A cross-sectional study

Harm HogenEsch, Steven Thompson, Anisa Dunham, Michael Ceddia, Michael Hayek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The evaluation of anti-aging intervention strategies in dogs would benefit from reliable quantitative biomarkers of aging. In the present study, the expression of various immune parameters was measured in young and old dogs to identify potential biomarkers of aging. The second goal of the study was to determine the effect of age on the immune response to vaccines. The immune function, including the antibody response to vaccines, was determined in 32 young adult (3.15±0.8 years of age) and 33 old dogs (12.1±1.3 years of age) of various breeds. Old dogs had a significantly lower lymphocyte proliferative response and a lower percentage of CD4+ T cells and CD45R+/CD4+ T cells, and a higher percentage of CD8 + T cells and a higher concentration of serum and salivary IgA. The most significant differences (P<0.001) occurred in the lymphocyte proliferative responses to ConA and PHA, the CD4:CD8 ratio, and the percentage of CD45R+/CD4+ T cells suggesting that these parameters are potential biomarkers of aging. There was no difference in the percentage of total T and B lymphocytes and the concentration of serum IgM and IgG. Both groups of dogs had protective titers against distemper virus, parvovirus and rabies virus before annual revaccination. The pre-vaccination titer against rabies virus was higher in the old dogs than in the young dogs, and there were no differences in post-vaccination titers against any of the viruses. This suggests that annual vaccination protocols provide adequate protection for old dogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Age influence
  • Dog
  • IgA
  • T cells
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)

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