Scientists have mapped the single-cell map of human debilitated immune cells

Cover of the April 2022 magazine Nature-Aging. Courtesy of the research group

Led by Professor Chen Guobing and Professor Luo Junhong of the School of Basic Medicine and Public Health of Jinan University, and Professor Liu Feng of the First People’s Hospital of Guangzhou, and a multi-unit scientific research team collaborated to map the single-cell transcriptome and TCR group of human immune cells from the newborn to the debilitating stage. The study was published online on April 18 in nature-aging (Nature Aging)。

The study, which took human peripheral immune cells as the subject of study, performed a full transcriptome and TCR mapping of changes in immune cells from the neonatal to debilitating stages at the single-cell level, while revealing that upregulation of the expression of the non-coding gene NAT1 may be a potentially important driver of immune aging.

Frailty is a non-specific state in which the body’s vulnerability and anti-stress ability decrease due to the decline of physiological reserves in the elderly, and is a transitional state between normal physical function and gradual loss and then death.

The study led by Chen Guobing for the first time mapped the immune cell single-cell transcriptome and TCR group atlas between the newborn and the centenarian age span, including healthy elderly and patients with senile debilitating syndrome, providing a rich “portrait” of aging and debilitation of immune cell types and gene molecules; initially revealing that the improvement of the expression level of the non-coding gene NAT1 is closely related to the aging of immune cells, providing a new perspective for the study of the molecular mechanism of aging and debilitation.

The study was selected as a cover article for the April 2022 journal Nature-Aging and was accompanied by comments from Professors Roel P. H. De Maeyer and Arne N. Akbar at University College London. The review believes that the study provides a valuable data base for the field of geriatrics, especially the study of debilitation, and opens a new door for research in this field by defining the immunological characteristics of senile debilitation.

The study was also reviewed by Liu Guanghui, a recipient of the National Outstanding Youth Fund and a researcher at the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Lu Linrong, a professor at Zhejiang University. Liu Guanghui believes that the study reveals the changes and molecular mechanisms of immune function from initial to mature to aging, which provides useful theoretical and data support for the diagnosis and treatment of geriatric debilitation and future immune interventions related to geriatric health. Lu Linrong believes that the study provides us with a paradigm for studying immune aging and provides us with a wealth of information for a more comprehensive understanding of immune aging.

The research work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology “Active Health and Aging Science and Technology Response” Key Special Project “Diagnostic Criteria and Comprehensive Intervention Research on the Debilitation of the Elderly Population in China” project.

Professor Luo Junhong and Dr. Lei Wen of Jinan University, Associate Professor Zhu Guodong of Guangzhou Nursing Home and Dr. Ren Zhiyao of Jinan University are the co-first authors of the paper. Professor Chen Guobing of Jinan University, Director Liu Feng of the Department of Geriatrics, Guangzhou First People’s Hospital, and Professor Luo Junhong of Jinan University are co-corresponding authors. Jinan University is the first unit to complete the thesis. (Source: China Science Daily Zhu Hanbin)

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