Both aging and sepsis independently increase splenic and gut epithelial apoptosis. Sepsis-induced apoptosis in either cell type is also associated with increased mortality in young mice. We sought to determine whether age alters sepsis-induced splenic and gut epithelial cell death. Young (2 months) and aged (22 months) male ND4 mice were subjected to either single-puncture cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) with a 23-gauge needle or sham laparotomy. Apoptosis was assessed 24 hours later in the spleen and gut epithelium by active caspase 3 and hematoxylin and eosin staining. Aged septic mice had increased splenic apoptosis compared with either young septic animals or aged sham animals (15 vs. 7 vs. 5 apoptotic cells/high-powered field, P < 0.05). Similarly, aged septic animals had an elevation in gut epithelial cell death compared with either young septic or aged sham mice (33 vs. 16 vs. 6 apoptotic cells/100 contiguous crypts, P < 0.05). Elevated intestinal cell death was not associated with changes in either gut proliferation or cell division. To verify that the increase in splenic apoptosis seen in septic aged animals was not strain specific, double-puncture CLP with a 25-gauge needle or sham laparotomy was performed on young (4 months) or aged (24 months) C57BL/6 male mice. Similar to results seen in outbred animals, aged septic animals in this inbred strain had increased splenic apoptosis compared with either young septic animals or aged sham animals (23 vs. 7 vs. 4 apoptotic cells/ high powered field, P < 0.05). These results indicate that although infection and aging each independently cause an increase in splenic and gut epithelial apoptosis, their combination leads to a disproportionate increase in cell death in these rapidly dividing cell populations, and potentially plays a role in the marked increase in mortality seen with aging in sepsis.
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2004|
- Programmed cell death