Dynamic phenotypic restructuring of the CD4 and CD8 T-cell subsets with age in healthy humans: a compartmental model analysis

Mech Ageing Dev. 1998 Nov 16;105(3):241-64. doi: 10.1016/s0047-6374(98)00089-x.

Abstract

In healthy humans, phenotypic restructuring occurs with age within the CD3+ T-lymphocyte complement. This is characterized by a non-linear decrease of the percentage of 'naive' (CD45RA+) cells and a corresponding non-linear increase of the percentage of 'memory' (CD45R0+) cells among both the CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets. We devised a simple compartmental model to study the age-dependent kinetics of phenotypic restructuring. We also derived differential equations whose parameters determined yearly gains minus losses of the percentage and absolute numbers of circulating naive cells, yearly gains minus losses of the percentage and absolute numbers of circulating memory cells, and the yearly rate of conversion of naive to memory cells. Solutions of these evaluative differential equations demonstrate the following: (1) the memory cell complement 'resides' within its compartment for a longer time than the naive cell complement within its compartment for both CD4 and CD8 cells; (2) the average, annual 'turnover rate' is the same for CD4 and CD8 naive cells. In contrast, the average, annual 'turnover rate' for memory CD8 cells is 1.5 times that of memory CD4 cells; (3) the average, annual conversion rate of CD4 naive cells to memory cells is twice that of the CD8 conversion rate; (4) a transition in dynamic restructuring occurs during the third decade of life that is due to these differences in turnover and conversion rates, between and from naive to memory cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Models, Statistical*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology