Functional Changes of T-Cell Subsets with Age and CMV Infection.

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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) latent infection and aging contribute to alterations in the function and phenotype of the T-cell pool. We have demonstrated that CMV-seropositivity is associated with the expansion of polyfunctional CD57+ T-cells in young and middle-aged individuals in response to different stimuli. Here, we expand our results on the effects of age and CMV infection on T-cell functionality in a cohort of healthy middle-aged and older individuals stratified by CMV serostatus. Specifically, we studied the polyfunctional responses (degranulation, IFN-γ and TNF-α production) of CD4+, CD8+, CD8+CD56+ (NKT-like), and CD4-CD8- (DN) T-cells according to CD57 expression in response to Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B (SEB). Our results show that CD57 expression by T-cells is not only a hallmark of CMV infection in young individuals but also at older ages. CD57+ T-cells are more polyfunctional than CD57- T-cells regardless of age. CMV-seronegative individuals have no or a very low percentages of cytotoxic CD4+ T-cells (CD1017a+) and CD4+CD57+ T-cells, supporting the notion that the expansion of these T-cells only occurs in the context of CMV infection. There was a functional shift in T-cells associated with CMV seropositivity, except in the NKT-like subset. Here, we show that the effect of CMV infection and age differ among T-cell subsets and that CMV is the major driving force for the expansion of highly polyfunctional CD57+ T-cells, emphasizing the necessity of considering CMV serology in any study of immunosenescence.
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CD57, T-cell response, aging, cytomegalovirus