Open Access Open Badges Research

Transcriptomic biomarkers of the response of hospitalized geriatric patients with infectious diseases

Thi Kim Duy Vo1, Patrice Godard1, Marie de Saint-Hubert2, Gabriel Morrhaye3, Christian Swine2, Vincent Geenen3, Henri J Martens3, Florence Debacq-Chainiaux1 and Olivier Toussaint1*

Author Affiliations

1 Unit of Research on Cellular Biology, NARILIS-Namur Research Institute for Life Sciences, University of Namur (FUNDP), Rue de Bruxelles 61, B-5000 Namur, Belgium

2 Department of Geriatrics University Hospital of Mont-Godinne, NARILIS-Namur Research Institute for Life Sciences, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Av Dr G.Therasse, 1 B-5530, Yvoir, Belgium

3 University of Liege, Center of Immunology, Laboratory of Immunoendocrinology, Institute of Pathology CHU-B23, B-4000 Liege-Sart Tilman, Belgium

For all author emails, please log on.

Immunity & Ageing 2010, 7:9  doi:10.1186/1742-4933-7-9

Published: 17 August 2010



Infectious diseases are significant causes of morbidity and mortality among elderly populations. However, the relationship between oxidative stress, immune function and inflammatory response in acute phase of the infectious disease is poorly understood.


Herein the abundance of a selection of 148 transcripts involved in immunosenescence and stress response was compared in total RNA of PBMC of 28 healthy aged probands and 39 aged patients in acute phase of infectious disease (day 2-4 after hospitalization) or in convalescence phase (day 7-10). This study provides a list of 24 differentially abundant transcript species in the acute phase versus healthy aged. For instance, transcripts associated with inflammatory and anti-inflammatory reactions (TNFRSF1A, IL1R1, IL1R2, IL10RB) and with oxidative stress (HMOX1, GPX1, SOD2, PRDX6) were more abundant while those associated with T-cell functions (CD28, CD69, LCK) were less abundant in acute phase. The abundance of seven of these transcripts (CD28, CD69, LCK, CTSD, HMOX1, TNFRSF1A and PRDX6) was already known to be altered in healthy aged probands compared to healthy young ones and was further affected in aged patients in acute phase, compromising an efficient response.


This work provides insights of the state of acute phase response to infections in elderly patients and could explain further the lack of appropriate response in the elderly compared to younger persons.