We studied a group of healthy elderly subjects (satisfying the SENIEUR Protocol admission criteria), chosen as a model of age-associated immune deficiency on the basis of their reduced skin reactivity to recall antigens. Results show that aged subjects, taken as a whole, display impaired T-cell functions: reduced blastogenetic responses to mitogens, IL-2 production, responsiveness to exogenous IL-2, and percentage of Tac positive blasts. However, the age-associated immune defect shows a wide range of impairment, even in a relatively homogeneous group of anergic/hypoergic subjects. In fact, a considerable proportion of our elderly subjects displays responses comparable with those of adult controls. These observations suggest that (a) immune deficiency is not a characteristic of aging per se; (b) cutaneous delayed hypersensitivity is not a criterion sensitive enough to identify people with age-associated immune deficit; and (c) more than one test is required to evaluate T-cell impairment in aging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine