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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Beatrix Grubeck-Loebenstein.

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Christoph R. Arnold, Juliane Wolf, and Stefan Brunner contibuted equally to this study.

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Arnold, C.R., Wolf, J., Brunner, S. et al. Gain and Loss of T Cell Subsets in Old Age—Age-Related Reshaping of the T Cell Repertoire. J Clin Immunol 31, 137–146 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10875-010-9499-x

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Keywords

  • Immunosenescence
  • T cells
  • aging
  • human