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Semin Immunol. 2012 Oct;24(5):356-64. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2012.04.009. Epub 2012 May 1.

Age-related changes in CD8 T cell homeostasis and immunity to infection.

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  • 1Department of Immunobiology and the Arizona Center on Aging, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ 85724, United States.


Studies of CD8 T cell responses to vaccination or infection with various pathogens in both animal models and human subjects have revealed a markedly consistent array of age-related defects. In general, recent work shows that aged CD8 T cell responses are decreased in magnitude, and show poor differentiation into effector cells, with a reduced arsenal of effector functions. Here we review potential mechanisms underlying these defects. We specifically address phenotypic and numeric changes to the naïve CD8 T cell precursor pool, the impact of persistent viral infection(s) and inflammation, and contributions of the aging environment in which these cells are activated.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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