Mel14+ CD4+ T cells from aged mice display functional and phenotypic characteristics of memory cells

Int Immunol. 1994 Aug;6(8):1227-34. doi: 10.1093/intimm/6.8.1227.


Aging is accompanied by an increased fraction of memory CD4+ T cells. Despite the fact that human memory cells have been reported to produce high levels of IL-2, studies in mice and man indicate an age-related decline in IL-2 production. In the present study, we examined whether these conflicting results depend on the activation pathway employed in a comparison of phenotypically distinct CD4+ T cells from young and aged mice. Our data indicate an age-related decline in IL-2 production by CD4+ T cells when the cells were stimulated with concanavalin A in the presence of accessory cells or the combination of immobilized anti-CD3 and soluble anti-CD28. However, when CD4+ T cells were only stimulated with immobilized anti-CD3, an age-related increase in IL-2 production was observed. This age-related increase in IL-2 could be attributed to the ability of CD4+ T cells from aged mice to produce IL-4 on this stimulation, since anti-IL-4 inhibited the IL-2 production in these cultures to levels found with cells from young mice. The addition of exogenous IL-4 greatly enhanced the IL-2 production of CD4+ T cells from young mice to levels far beyond that of the aged counterparts, emphasizing the dominant role of IL-4 in the induction of IL-2 stimulated with immobilized anti-CD3. No differences were observed in the activation requirements of Mel14- CD4+ T cells from young and aged mice.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • CD3 Complex / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Carrier Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • L-Selectin
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / biosynthesis


  • CD3 Complex
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • L-Selectin
  • Interleukin-4