Age-associated changes in the circulating human antibody repertoire are upregulated in autoimmunity

Aaron Arvey, Michael Rowe, Joseph Barten Legutki, Gang An, Anantha Gollapudi, Anna Lei, Bill Colston, Chaim Putterman, David Smith, Janelle Stiles, Theodore Tarasow, Preveen Ramamoorthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: The immune system undergoes a myriad of changes with age. While it is known that antibody-secreting plasma and long-lived memory B cells change with age, it remains unclear how the binding profile of the circulating antibody repertoire is impacted. Results: To understand humoral immunity changes with respect to age, we characterized serum antibody binding to high density peptide microarrays in a diverse cohort of 1675 donors. We discovered thousands of peptides that bind antibodies in age-dependent fashion, many of which contain di-serine motifs. Peptide binding profiles were aggregated into an "immune age"by a machine learning regression model that was highly correlated with chronological age. Applying this regression model to previously-unobserved donors, we found that a donor's predicted immune age is longitudinally consistent over years, suggesting it could be a robust long-term biomarker of humoral immune ageing. Finally, we assayed serum from donors with autoimmune disease and found a significant association between "accelerated immune ageing"and autoimmune disease activity. Conclusions: The circulating antibody repertoire has increased binding to thousands of di-serine peptide containing peptides in older donors, which can be represented as an immune age. Increased immune age is associated with autoimmune disease, acute inflammatory disease severity, and may be a broadly relevant biomarker of immune function in health, disease, and therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalImmunity and Ageing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Antibody binding profile
  • Antibody response
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Immune age
  • Immunosenescence
  • Machine learning
  • Peptide library


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