Age-related changes in CD8 T cell homeostasis and immunity to infection

Janko Nikolich-Žugich, Gang Li, Jennifer L. Uhrlaub, Kristin R. Renkema, Megan J. Smithey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Studies of CD8 T cell responses to vaccination or infection with various pathogens in both animal models and human subjects have revealed a markedly consistent array of age-related defects. In general, recent work shows that aged CD8 T cell responses are decreased in magnitude, and show poor differentiation into effector cells, with a reduced arsenal of effector functions. Here we review potential mechanisms underlying these defects. We specifically address phenotypic and numeric changes to the naïve CD8 T cell precursor pool, the impact of persistent viral infection(s) and inflammation, and contributions of the aging environment in which these cells are activated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-364
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank the past and present members of the Nikolich laboratory for support and helpful discussions. Supported by NIH awards AG020719 , AG035309 , AI081680 and N01 AI 00017 .


  • Aging
  • CD8 T cells
  • Homeostasis
  • Immunity
  • Infection


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