Response of Aged Mice to Primary Virus Infections

Immunol Rev. 2005 Jun;205:285-96. doi: 10.1111/j.0105-2896.2005.00273.x.


Aging is associated with an increased morbidity to virus infections as well as a delay in clearance of symptoms after infection. Studies of sublethal virus infections of aged mice closely mirror the human situation: there is a delay in clearance of virus. The delay in virus clearance is accompanied by a delay and a decrease in T-cell response, particularly of CD8(+) T cells. Intrinsic alterations of T cells of aged mice contribute to this decrease in virus-specific T-cell response; however, evidence suggests that environmental or innate components of the aged host also influence this age-associated decline in clearance of virus. While the changes in the adaptive immune response have been carefully described, the early events in the generation of the T-cell response after virus infection have received limited attention. Importantly, age-associated changes in the innate response to virus infection, particularly production of and response to interferon (IFN)-alpha/beta, cytotoxicity and IFN-gamma production by natural killer cells, interleukin-12 induction, and depletion of non-specific T cells early during virus infection need further evaluation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Time Factors
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / virology