Indexed on: 09 Jul '14Published on: 09 Jul '14Published in: Journal of leukocyte biology
Aging is associated with an increased susceptibility to infections and diseases. It has also been associated with reduced functionality and altered distribution of immune cells, especially T cells. Whereas classical α/β T cells, especially CD8(+) T cells, were shown to be highly susceptible to aging, the effects of viral persistent stimulations on the fate of γ/δ T cells are much less documented. Healthy, elderly individuals of Chinese ethnical background were recruited under the aegis of SLAS-II. In this observational study, γ/δ T cell populations were characterized by flow cytometry and compared with the α/β CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in elderly and young controls. In our study, we identified a reduced frequency of γ/δ T cells but not α/β T cells with aging. The classical markers of α/β T cell aging, including CD28, CD27, and CD57, did not prove significant for γ/δ T cells. The extreme range of expression of these markers in γ/δ T cells was responsible for the lack of relationship between γ/δ T cell subsets, CD4/CD8 ratio, and anti-CMV titers that was significant for α/β T cells and, especially, CD8(+) T cells. Although markers of aging for γ/δ T cells are not clearly identified, our data collectively suggest that the presence of CD27 γ/δ T cells is associated with markers of α/β T cell aging.