BACKGROUND: A reduced number of naïve T cells along with an accumulation of differentiated cell types in aging have been described but little is known about the polyfunctionality of the T cell responses. In this study we compared the individual and polyfunctional expression of IFN-γ, MIP-1α, TNF-α, perforin, and IL-2 by T cell subsets, including the newly described stem cell like memory T cells (TSCM), in response to stimulation with superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) in older (median age 80, n = 23) versus younger (median age 27; n = 23) adults.
RESULTS: Older age was associated with a markedly lower frequency of CD8+ naïve T cells (11% vs. 47%; p
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that aging does not have a negative effect on polyfunctionality and therefore this is likely not a major contributor to the immunesenescence described with aging.
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