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Exp Gerontol. 2007 May;42(5):400-6. Epub 2007 Jan 10.

Aging and T-cell diversity.

Author information

  • 1Lowance Center for Human Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, 101 Woodruff Circle #1003, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. jgoronz@emory.edu

Abstract

Naïve and memory CD4 and CD8 T cells constitute a highly dynamic system with constant homeostatic and antigen-driven proliferation, influx, and loss of T cells. Thymic activity dwindles with age and essentially ceases in the later decades of life, severely constraining the generation of new T cells. Homeostatic control mechanisms are very effective at maintaining a large and diverse subset of naïve CD4 T cells through the 7th decade of life, but eventually and abruptly fail at about the age of 75 years. In contrast, the CD8 T cell compartment is more unstable, with progressive diminution of naïve T cells and increasing loss of diversity during mid adulthood. Vaccination strategies need to aim at developing a broad repertoire of memory T cells before the critical time period when the naïve CD4 T-cell repertoire collapses. Research efforts need to aim at understanding T-cell homeostatic control mechanisms to ultimately expand the time period of repertoire stability.

PMID:
17218073
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2680153
Free PMC Article

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