Functional Diversity of CMV-Specific T-Cells is Maintained in Older People and Significantly Associated with Protein Specificity and Response Size.

Bajwa et al., The Journal of Infetious Diseases (2016) - PMID: 27521364

Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools



  Parallel up-regulation of several T-cell effector functions ('polyfunctionality') is believed to be critical for the protection against viruses but thought to decrease in large T-cell expansions, in particular at older ages. The factors determining T-cell polyfunctionality are incompletely understood. Here we revisit the question of CMV-specific T-cell polyfunctionality, including a wide range of T-cell target proteins, response sizes, and participant ages.


 Polychromatic flow-cytometry was used to analyze the functionaldiversity (CD107, CD154, IL-2, TNF, IFN-γ) of CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses to 19 CMV proteins in a large group of young and older UK participants. A group of oldest old people (>85years) was included to explore these parameters in exceptional 'survivors'. Polyfunctionality was assessed for each protein-specific response subset by subset and in aggregate across all proteins using the novel polyfunctionality index (PI).


 Polyfunctionality was not reduced in healthy older compared to young people. However, it was significantly related to target proteinspecificity. For each protein it increased with responsesize. In the oldest old overall T-cell polyfunctionality was significantly lower.


 Our results give a new perspective on T-cell polyfunctionality and raise the question if maintaining polyfunctionality of CMV-specificT-cells at older ages is necessarily beneficial.

© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

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