The loss of thymic function with age may be due to diminished numbers of T-cell progenitors and the loss of critical mediators within the thymic microenvironment. To assess the molecular changes associated with this loss, we examined transcriptomes of progressively aging mouse thymi, of different sexes and on caloric-restricted (CR) vs. ad libitum (AL) diets. Genes involved in various biological and molecular processes including transcriptional regulators, stress response, inflammation and immune function significantly changed during thymic aging. These differences depended on variables such as sex and diet. Interestingly, many changes associated with thymic aging are either muted or almost completely reversed in mice on caloric-restricted diets. These studies provide valuable insight into the molecular mechanisms associated with thymic aging and emphasize the need to account for biological variables such as sex and diet when elucidating the genomic correlates that influence the molecular pathways responsible for thymic involution.
- Caloric restriction
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