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J Comp Pathol. 2010 Jan;142 Suppl 1:S116-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2009.10.002. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

Fading immune protection in old age: vaccination in the elderly.

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Institute for Biomedical Aging Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Rennweg 10, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


The function of the immune system declines with age, leading to an increased occurrence and severity of infectious diseases and a decreased response to vaccines. As the thymus gradually loses its ability to replenish the population of naïve T cells, the memory and effector T cells increase in number and dominate the repertoire. The changes in the naïve and memory T cell pool that occur with ageing in man are discussed here, along with a brief update of the knowledge of B cell populations in the elderly.

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