Aging Table 4: Immune System

Author Year; Country
Research Design
Total Sample Size



Zajarias-Fainsod et al. 2012;


Cross-sectional with AB controls

N SCI=12

N controls=18

Population: 12 SCI subjects (8M 4F), >10 YPI; mean (SD) age in yrs: 32(5), range 22-46; mean (SD) YPI: 19.55 (8.4), range 12-37; Level of injury: 41.66% cervical, 58.34% thoracic; AIS scale: 50% A, 50% B.

18 age-matched healthy blood donors; mean (SD) age 33(6) yrs.

Methodology: Blood samples were drawn through standard venipuncture and lymphocyte proliferation and antibody titers against myelin basic protein (MBP).

Outcome Measures:  lymphocyte proliferation (colorimetric-BrdU ELISA assay), and antibody titers against MBP (ELISA Human IgG MBP-specific assay).

  1. SCI patients presented a significant auto-reactive immune response as shown by T-cell proliferation against MBP compared to AB controls.
  2. The authors suggest that this could indicate that immune cells are expanding tissue damage after the injury or alternatively, promoting neuroprotection and regeneration.

Frisbie 2010;


Retrospective longitudinal


Population: 322 SCI subjects (318M 4F); had follow up service for SCI with scheduled annual checkups between 1998 and 2007.

Methodology: Cohort was divided into two groups: surviving and deceased through 2008.

Outcome Measures:  prevalence rates of anemia (AN), severe anemia (SAN) and hypoalbuminemia (HA)which might serve as markers for infection.

  1. 72% of surviving subjects experienced AN during survey period.
  2. 99% of deceased subjects experienced AN.
  3. SAN or HA also higher in deceased (54.2% vs. 28.0% and 61.4% vs. 28.5%).
  4. Number of survey years positive for AN, SAN, or HA higher in deceased (82.7%, 18.0%, 22.2%) vs. survivor (33.7%, 6.0%, 6.4%).
  5. SAN and HA occurred together in same survey year 78% of the times.

Furlan et al. 2006;


Cross-sectional with AB controls

N SCI=21

N controls=11

Population: 21 subjects with cervical SCI, ages 17-83 yrs, AIS A-D. 11 males and females with spine trauma, ages 18-75 yrs, AIS E as controls.

Methodology: Consecutive individuals with acute C-spine trauma from 1998-2000 were reviewed.

Outcome Measures:  Blood hemoglobin concentration, leukocyte, lymphocyte and platelet count within first week of trauma.

  1. With age controlled, SCI individuals showed a significantly higher frequency for decreased hemoglobin concentration, leukocytosis, lymphopenia, and thrombocytopenia than controls within the first week post-trauma.
  2. SCI had significantly higher leukocyte count and significantly lower blood lymphocyte count than controls.
  3. Males with SCI had significantly lower hemoglobin concentration than male controls, but no differences detected between females.

Campagnolo et al. 1999;


Cross-sectional with AB controls

N SCI=18

N controls=18

Population: 18 SCI subjects (11M 7F); for persons with tetraplegia, mean age 29 (19-51 yrs), mean YPI 56.6 months; for persons with paraplegia, mean age 32.6 (21-50 yrs), mean YPI 38.6 months.

Methodology: Comparison of pituitary and adrenal function with age and gender matched AB controls.

Outcome measure: Immunoassay methods.

  1. Plasma cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DS) were higher in persons with SCI. 
  2. When examined within level of injury, no differences on mean plasma cortisol emerged, but persons with tetraplegia had higher levels of mean plasma dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate than AB controls which may suggest adrenal dysfunction

Campagnolo et al. 1994;


Cross-sectional with AB controls


N controls=5

Population: 5 subjects with complete tetraplegia (4M 1F); mean age 36.2 yrs, (range 20-69 yrs); mean YPI 33.8 (range 7-120 mos).

Methodology: Comparison of an immunologic parameter, and psychological wellbeing with age and gender matched AB controls.

Outcome measure: Lymphocyte proliferation assay; Natural killer cell cytotoxicity assay; Cell counts; Ilfeld Psychiatric Symptom Index.

  1. No difference in cytometry, depression or stress.
  2. Persons with SCI had significant suppression in lymphocyte balstogenic response for the three mitogens tested (pokeweed, conconavalin, phytohemagglutinin).