Androgen supplementation improves some but not all aspects of immune senescence in aged male macaques

Maham Rais, Randall M. Wilson, Henryk F. Urbanski, Ilhem Messaoudi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Aging leads to a progressive decline in immune function commonly referred to as immune senescence, which results in increased incidence and severity of infection. In addition, older males experience a significant disruption in their levels of circulating androgens, notably testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which has been linked to sarcopenia, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Since sex steroid levels modulate immune function, it is possible that the age-related decline in androgen levels can also affect immune senescence. Therefore, in this study, we evaluated the pleiotropic effects of physiological androgen supplementation in aged male rhesus macaques (n = 7/group) on immune cell subset frequency and response to vaccination. As expected, frequency of naïve CD4 and CD8 T cells declined in aged non-treated macaques, while that of memory T cells increased. In contrast, frequency of naïve and memory T cells remained stable in androgen-supplemented males. In addition, levels of inflammatory cytokines increased less steeply in supplemented aged males compared to the aged controls. Despite these changes, androgen-supplemented animals only showed modest improvement in antibody responses following vaccination compared to age non-treated controls. These data indicate that short-term physiological androgen supplementation can improve some but not all aspects of immune senescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-384
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Androgens
  • Andropause
  • Immune senescence
  • Inflammation
  • Rhesus macaques
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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