Aging and T-cell diversity

Jörg J. Goronzy, Won Woo Lee, Cornelia M. Weyand

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Naïve and memory CD4 and CD8 T cells constitute a highly dynamic system with constant homeostatic and antigen-driven proliferation, influx, and loss of T cells. Thymic activity dwindles with age and essentially ceases in the later decades of life, severely constraining the generation of new T cells. Homeostatic control mechanisms are very effective at maintaining a large and diverse subset of naïve CD4 T cells through the 7th decade of life, but eventually and abruptly fail at about the age of 75 years. In contrast, the CD8 T cell compartment is more unstable, with progressive diminution of naïve T cells and increasing loss of diversity during mid adulthood. Vaccination strategies need to aim at developing a broad repertoire of memory T cells before the critical time period when the naïve CD4 T-cell repertoire collapses. Research efforts need to aim at understanding T-cell homeostatic control mechanisms to ultimately expand the time period of repertoire stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-406
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number5 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Aging
  • Immunosenescence
  • T-cell homeostasis
  • T-cell receptor
  • T-cell repertoire
  • Thymus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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