Postnatal Immune System

Continued maturation of the macaque immune system has been provided by evaluation of various serum parameters during the postnatal period. Longitudinal measurements of CD4/CD8 T cell ratios have been reported in colony-bred rhesus (Dykhuizen et al. 2000) and cynomolgus (Bleavins et al. 1993; Baroncelli et al. 1997) macaques using flow cytometry. In both macaques, the CD4/CD8 ratios slowly decline with age, predominantly due to decreasing CD4+ T cell counts (Table 7.7). The CD4/CD8 values between 6 months and 1 year of age in these macaques (approximately 1.4 to 1.8) are in the same range as reported for humans between 4 to 5 years of age (Heldrup et al. 1992).

Age-related changes in serum immunoglobulin levels have also been assessed as indicators of immunologic competence in rhesus (Voormolen-Kalova et al. 1974) and cynomolgus (Terao 1981) macaques. Gradual increases in IgA, IgG, and IgM occur in both species with age (Table 7.6). Similar trends have been observed in humans (Siberry and Iannone 2000). For example, in both macaques ranging in age from 6 months to 1 year, serum IgA levels approximate 43 to 45% of adult values. A similar level (40%) of serum IgA is observed in humans at 4 to 5 years.

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