Multidimensional single-cell analysis of human peripheral blood reveals characteristic features of the immune system landscape in aging and frailty

Nat Aging. 2022 Apr;2(4):348-364. doi: 10.1038/s43587-022-00198-9. Epub 2022 Apr 18.


Frailty is an intermediate status of the human aging process, associated with decompensated homeostasis and death. The immune phenotype of frailty and its underlying cellular and molecular processes remain poorly understood. We profiled 114,467 immune cells from cord blood, young adults and healthy and frail old adults using single-cell RNA and TCR sequencing. Here we show an age-dependent accumulation of transcriptome heterogeneity and variability in immune cells. Characteristic transcription factors were identified in given cell types of specific age groups. Trajectory analysis revealed cells from non-frail and frail old adults often fall into distinct paths. Numerous TCR clonotypes were shared among T-cell subtypes in old adults, indicating differential pluripotency and resilience capabilities of aged T cells. A frailty-specific monocyte subset was identified with exclusively high expression of long noncoding RNAs NEAT1 and MALAT1. Our study discovers human frailty-specific immune cell characteristics based on the comprehensive dimensions in the immune landscape of aging and frailty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Frail Elderly
  • Frailty*
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Young Adult


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell