Depleting myeloid-biased haematopoietic stem cells rejuvenates aged immunity

Nature. 2024 Apr;628(8006):162-170. doi: 10.1038/s41586-024-07238-x. Epub 2024 Mar 27.


Ageing of the immune system is characterized by decreased lymphopoiesis and adaptive immunity, and increased inflammation and myeloid pathologies1,2. Age-related changes in populations of self-renewing haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are thought to underlie these phenomena3. During youth, HSCs with balanced output of lymphoid and myeloid cells (bal-HSCs) predominate over HSCs with myeloid-biased output (my-HSCs), thereby promoting the lymphopoiesis required for initiating adaptive immune responses, while limiting the production of myeloid cells, which can be pro-inflammatory4. Ageing is associated with increased proportions of my-HSCs, resulting in decreased lymphopoiesis and increased myelopoiesis3,5,6. Transfer of bal-HSCs results in abundant lymphoid and myeloid cells, a stable phenotype that is retained after secondary transfer; my-HSCs also retain their patterns of production after secondary transfer5. The origin and potential interconversion of these two subsets is still unclear. If they are separate subsets postnatally, it might be possible to reverse the ageing phenotype by eliminating my-HSCs in aged mice. Here we demonstrate that antibody-mediated depletion of my-HSCs in aged mice restores characteristic features of a more youthful immune system, including increasing common lymphocyte progenitors, naive T cells and B cells, while decreasing age-related markers of immune decline. Depletion of my-HSCs in aged mice improves primary and secondary adaptive immune responses to viral infection. These findings may have relevance to the understanding and intervention of diseases exacerbated or caused by dominance of the haematopoietic system by my-HSCs.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity* / immunology
  • Aging* / immunology
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells* / cytology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells* / immunology
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Lymphocytes* / cytology
  • Lymphocytes* / immunology
  • Lymphopoiesis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Myeloid Cells* / cytology
  • Myeloid Cells* / immunology
  • Myelopoiesis
  • Phenotype
  • Rejuvenation*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Viruses / immunology