, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 299–308 | Cite as

The immune risk profile is associated with age and gender: findings from three Swedish population studies of individuals 20–100 years of age

  • Anders Wikby
  • Ingrid A. Månsson
  • Boo Johansson
  • Jan Strindhall
  • Sven E. Nilsson
Research Article


Earlier we identified an Immune Risk Profile (IRP) of very old individuals, 86–94 years of age, characterised by an inverted CD4/CD8 ratio and associated with persistent cytomegalovirus infection and an increase in the numbers of CD3+CD8+CD28− cells. In the present study we included data from a population-based sample in the age range of 20–79 years to examine the prevalence of individuals with an inverted CD4/CD8 ratio relative to age and gender across the entire adult lifespan. Immunological monitoring that was conducted included analysis of the numbers of T-cells in the subsets CD3+, CD3+CD4+, and CD3+CD8+ as well as CD3+CD8+CD28+, CD3+CD8+CD28−, and CD8+CD45RA+CCR7+. There was found to be a significant lowering of the numbers of CD3+, CD3+CD4+, and CD3+CD8+, and of the CD8+CD45RA+CCR7+ cells across the adult life-span. Notably, the prevalence of individuals with an inverted CD4/CD8 ratio increased from about 8% in the age range of 20–59 years to about 16% in the age range of 60–94 years. The mortality rate in individuals with an inverted CD4/CD8 ratio also increased significantly above the age of 60. Interestingly, the proportion of individuals with an inverted CD4/CD8 ratio was found to be significantly higher in men, whereas the numbers of CD3+CD4+ helper and CD8+CD45RA+CCR7+ naïve cells and the CD4/CD8 ratio were found to be significantly higher in women. These results highlight the importance of functioning of the thymus in the development of IRP and may partly account for the differences between sexes in terms of longevity.


Immune risk T-cells Age Gender 



The authors acknowledge the considerable support provided by the Kristianstad Survey Project (former County Council of Kristinstad), by the EU project “T cell immunity and ageing”, T-CIA, contract no (QLK6-CT-2001–02283) and the Medical Research Council of South-eastern Sweden for funding of the project. We also gratefully acknowledge Centrallasarettet Kristianstad and Länssjukhuset Ryhov for providing laboratory resources for completion of the studies. We are also indebted to our co-workers Sten-Erik Bäck, Sven Björnsson, Nils Tryding, Jan-Erik Nilsson, Sture Löfgren, Bengt-Olof Nilsson and Jan Ernerudh.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Wikby
    • 1
  • Ingrid A. Månsson
    • 2
  • Boo Johansson
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jan Strindhall
    • 1
  • Sven E. Nilsson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Natural Science and Biomedicine, School of Health SciencesJönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden
  2. 2.Department of Clinical ChemistryCentral HospitalKristianstadSweden
  3. 3.Institute of Gerontology, School of Health SciencesJönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyGöteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden

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