B cells in the aged: CD27, CD5, and CD40 expression

Mech Ageing Dev. 2003 Apr;124(4):389-93. doi: 10.1016/s0047-6374(03)00013-7.


Ageing is characterized by numerous changes in lymphocyte subpopulations. In the present paper we have focused on B cells carrying the surface markers CD27, CD5 and CD40. CD27 is considered a marker of primed (memory) cells and its engagement promotes the differentiation of memory B cells into plasma cells. CD5 is expressed on B1 cells, which are considered to be responsible for T cell-independent antibody production other than autoantibodies. The CD40 molecule binds CD40L (CD154) and is necessary for T-dependent antibody responses. Here we show that the absolute number of CD5+ and CD40+ B cells is decreased in the elderly, while CD27+ B lymphocytes only marginally decrease in centenarians. However, there is a decrease of the percentage of CD5+ B cells, an increase of CD27+ B cells, while CD40 does not change significantly. These data, together with the increased number of NK cells during aging, suggest different regulation of antibody production in the elderly which might be another example of immune remodeling with aging, based on interactions between human B and NK cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers
  • CD40 Antigens / metabolism*
  • CD5 Antigens / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Middle Aged
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7 / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • CD40 Antigens
  • CD5 Antigens
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7