Send to

Choose Destination
Geroscience. 2017 Jun;39(3):293-303. doi: 10.1007/s11357-017-9982-x. Epub 2017 Jun 24.

A constant companion: immune recognition and response to cytomegalovirus with aging and implications for immune fitness.

Author information

Department of Immunology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.
Centre d'Immunologie et des Maladies Infectieuses (CIMI-Paris), INSERM U1135, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC DHU FAST, Paris, France.
Arizona Center on Aging, Department of Immunobiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.
Department of Immunology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.


Approximately 50% of individuals aged 6-49 years in the United States are infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV), with seroprevalence increasing with age, reaching 85-90% by 75-80 years according to Bate et al. (Clin Infect Dis 50 (11): 1439-1447, 2010) and Pawelec et al. (Curr Opin Immunol 24:507-511, 2012). Following primary infection, CMV establishes lifelong latency with periodic reactivation. Immunocompetent hosts experience largely asymptomatic infection, but CMV can cause serious illness in immunocompromised populations, such as transplant patients and the elderly. Control of CMV requires constant immune surveillance, and recent discoveries suggest this demand alters general features of the immune system in infected individuals. Here, we review recent advances in the understanding of the immune response to CMV and the role of CMV in immune aging and fitness, while highlighting the importance of potential confounding factors that influence CMV studies. Understanding how CMV contributes to shaping "baseline" immunity has important implications for a host's ability to mount effective responses to diverse infections and vaccination.


Aging; Coinfection; Cytomegalovirus; Herpesvirus; Immune fitness; Immune response

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center