Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 137–146 | Cite as

Gain and Loss of T Cell Subsets in Old Age—Age-Related Reshaping of the T Cell Repertoire

  • Christoph R. Arnold
  • Juliane Wolf
  • Stefan Brunner
  • Dietmar Herndler-Brandstetter
  • Beatrix Grubeck-LoebensteinEmail author


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.


Immunosenescence T cells aging human 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph R. Arnold
    • 1
  • Juliane Wolf
    • 1
  • Stefan Brunner
    • 1
  • Dietmar Herndler-Brandstetter
    • 1
  • Beatrix Grubeck-Loebenstein
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Immunology Division, Institute for Biomedical Aging ResearchAustrian Academy of SciencesInnsbruckAustria

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