Metabolic reprogramming in memory CD4 T cell responses of old adults

Rolando E. Yanes, Huimin Zhang, Yi Shen, Cornelia M. Weyand, Jorg J. Goronzy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To determine whether aging affects the ability of T cells to undergo metabolic reprogramming upon activation, we compared CD4 T cell responses after polyclonal in vitro stimulation. Compared to younger adults, CD4 memory T cells from healthy older individuals exhibited a higher upregulation of oxidative phosphorylation with increased production of reactive oxygen species and intracellular and secreted ATP. Increased ATP secretion led to increased purinergic signaling and P2X7-dependent increases in cytoplasmic calcium. The increased mitochondrial activity was not due to a difference in activation-induced mitochondrial biogenesis. Expression of carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1 was higher, conversely that of fatty acid synthase was reduced in older T cells, resulting in increased fatty acid oxidation, while depleting intracellular lipid stores. The aged CD4 memory T cells therefore maintain a more catabolic state in lipid metabolism, while their ability to upregulate glycolysis upon activation is preserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Immunology
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Aging
  • CD4 memory T cells
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Immunometabolism
  • Immunosenescence
  • T cell activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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