Mechanisms underlying T cell ageing

Nat Rev Immunol. 2019 Sep;19(9):573-583. doi: 10.1038/s41577-019-0180-1. Epub 2019 Jun 11.


T cell ageing has a pivotal role in rendering older individuals vulnerable to infections and cancer and in impairing the response to vaccination. Easy accessibility to peripheral human T cells as well as an expanding array of tools to examine T cell biology have provided opportunities to examine major ageing pathways and their consequences for T cell function. Here, we review emerging concepts of how the body attempts to maintain a functional T cell compartment with advancing age, focusing on three fundamental domains of the ageing process, namely self-renewal, control of cellular quiescence and cellular senescence. Understanding these critical elements in successful T cell ageing will allow the design of interventions to prevent or reverse ageing-related T cell failure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Immunosenescence / physiology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell