Age-related Changes in CD8 T Cell Homeostasis and Immunity to Infection

Semin Immunol. 2012 Oct;24(5):356-64. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2012.04.009. Epub 2012 May 1.


Studies of CD8 T cell responses to vaccination or infection with various pathogens in both animal models and human subjects have revealed a markedly consistent array of age-related defects. In general, recent work shows that aged CD8 T cell responses are decreased in magnitude, and show poor differentiation into effector cells, with a reduced arsenal of effector functions. Here we review potential mechanisms underlying these defects. We specifically address phenotypic and numeric changes to the naïve CD8 T cell precursor pool, the impact of persistent viral infection(s) and inflammation, and contributions of the aging environment in which these cells are activated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Phenotype