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Clin Exp Immunol. 1992 Nov;90(2):351-4.

Changes in circulating B cells and immunoglobulin classes and subclasses in a healthy aged population.

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Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


The study of 87 adults of different ages, including 15 centenarians, selected for their healthy status, showed that profound changes of humoral immunity occur throughout life. In particular, a statistically significant age-related increase of the serum level of immunoglobulin classes (IgG and IgA but not IgM) and IgG subclasses (IgG1, 2 and 3, but not IgG4) was detected. A parallel age-related decrease of circulating B cells was also observed. The hypothesis of a complex derangement of B cell function and/or compartmentalization with age is put forward, together with the proposal that healthy centenarians (as representative of successful ageing) may be helpful in identifying the physiological age-related modifications of the immune system.

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