Age-related changes in lymphokine production related to a decreased number of CD45RBhi CD4+ T cells

Eur J Immunol. 1991 Feb;21(2):273-81. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830210206.


The ability of CD4+ T cells from CBA/Rij mice to produce interleukin (IL) 2 after stimulation with anti-CD3, concanavalin A, or the combination of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and ionomycin declines during aging. This phenomenon was accompanied by an increased production of IL 4 and interferon-gamma. These age-related changes in lymphokine production correlated with the decrease in the percentage of CD45RBhi CD4+ T cells from about 80% in 2-month-old to about 40% in 27-month-old mice. This phenotypic shift was responsible for the decline in IL 2 production, because in young and in old mice CD45RBhi CD4+ T cells were more potent IL 2 producers than CD45RBlo cells. Moreover, old CD45RBhi CD4+ T cells produced less IL 2 than their young counterparts. Proliferative responses by T cells from old mice were lower than those of young mice, regardless whether the cultures were supplemented with IL 2, IL 4 or both lymphokines. As far as CD4+ T cells were concerned, this hyporesponsiveness was found in the CD45RBlo as well as in the CD45RBhi CD4+ T cell population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation / physiology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / physiology*
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Cytokines
  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens