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J Clin Immunol. 2011 Apr;31(2):137-46. doi: 10.1007/s10875-010-9499-x. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Gain and loss of T cell subsets in old age--age-related reshaping of the T cell repertoire.

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


The immune system is affected by the aging process and undergoes significant age-related changes, termed immunosenescence. Different T cell subsets are affected by this process. Alterations within the bone marrow and thymus lead to a shift in the composition of the T cell repertoire from naïve to antigen-experienced T cells, thereby compromising the diversity of the T cell pool. Additional infection with latent pathogens such as cytomegalovirus aggravates this process. In this review, we focus on the major age-related changes that occur in the naïve and the antigen-experienced T cell population. We discuss the mechanisms responsible for the generation and maintenance of these subsets and how age-related changes can be delayed or prevented by clinical interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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