Lymphocyte subsets' reference ranges in an age- and gender-balanced population of 100 healthy adults--a monocentric German study

Clin Immunol. 2005 Aug;116(2):192-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2005.03.020.


Region-specific reference ranges for adult peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets have been established in few countries around the world, but most studies were restricted to younger adults for monitoring of HIV patients. The aim of this investigation was to establish age- and gender-specific reference ranges for healthy adults. Lymphocyte subsets were examined in 100 healthy volunteers (50 males, 50 females) aged 19-85 years by two-color flow cytometric analysis with a FACSCalibur. A statistically significant decline in the mean numbers of CD3+/CD8+ T cells and CD19+ B cells was observed beyond an age of 50 years, whereas the mean counts of NK cells and CD4+/CD8+ ratio significantly increased beyond the age of 50. Females < or = 50 years had significantly higher mean CD4+ T cell counts and lower NK cell counts than males < or = 50 years. Based on these results, we established reference values for three subgroups: males < or = 50 years, females < or = 50 years, and males/females > 50 years.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD19 / analysis
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD3 Complex / analysis
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology
  • Lymphocyte Count*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors


  • Antigens, CD19
  • CD3 Complex