Characterization of naïve, Memory and Effector CD8+ T Cells: Effect of Age

Exp Gerontol. 2004 Apr;39(4):545-50. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2003.08.013.


Aging is associated with progressive decline in T cell functions and increased frequency of infections, autoimmune phenomenon, and cancer. Memory T cells rapidly acquire effector functions to kill infected and malignant cells and/or inhibit their replication. Recently, memory T cells have been further classified into central and effector memory T cells (and early and intermediate T cells by some investigators). In aging, memory T cells are accumulated; however, these subpopulations of memory and effector T cells have not been fully characterized and changes in central memory and effector memory T cells in aged humans have not been described. In this article, we have further defined naïve, central memory, effector memory, and effector CD8+ T cells in humans and their changes in aged humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology*
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / physiology*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*