The aging immune system: primer and prospectus

Science. 1996 Jul 5;273(5271):70-4. doi: 10.1126/science.273.5271.70.


Changes in T lymphocyte populations underlie much of the age-related decline in the protective immune response. Aging leads to the replacement of virgin T cells by memory T cells and to the accumulation of cells with signal transduction defects. Studies of antibody gene assembly, accessory cell function, post-thymic T cell development, skewed selection of T cell receptor repertoire, and the clinical concomitants of immune senescence will shed new light on the causes and consequences of age-dependent immune failure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Longevity
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell