Gitit Lavy Shahaf

Bar Ilan University, Dept: The Mina & Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Unit: The Computational Immunology Lab

Ramat-Gan, Israel

Gitit Lavy Shaaf


Understanding B cell lineage population and repertoire changes in aging, and in people with AIDS.


Background: Elderly people fail to mount protective immune responses to vaccines and to infectious agents, and are more susceptible to infectious diseases and complications as a result of immune deficiency. Studies have shown that B lymphocyte production in the bone marrow declines with aging, and long-lived B cells accumulate in the periphery. Thus, in aging a more restricted repertoire develops, which fails to respond to new antigens. Similar changes occur in patients with AIDS.

Working hypothesis and aims: We propose to investigate the changes in the B cell population and repertoire in aging. Our specific aims are to develop theoretical models to: 1) Find which peripheral B cell developmental mechanisms change in aging. 2) Determine the role of homeostatic pressures exerted by peripheral B lymphocytes on developing bone marrow B lymphocytes in aging. 3) Determine the antigen receptor repertoires changes in aging. 4) Examine the effect of treatment that removes long-live B cells in aging mice and human. 5) Compare B cell populations of AIDS patients to those in young and elderly humans.

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