Mechanisms of naive CD4+ T cell maintenance in the elderly and its implications for Autoimmunity

van der Geest, K., Brouwer, E., Abdulahad, W. & Boots, A. M. H., 2018, Handbook of Immunosenescence: Basic Understanding and Clinical Implications. Fulop, T., Franceschi, C., Hirokawa, K. & Pawelec, G. (eds.). Springer International Publishing, p. 1-23 23 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessional

CD4+ T cells are critical players in the immune system. CD4+ T cells coordinate both innate and adaptive immune responses. When naive CD4+ T cells become activated via their antigen-specific T cell receptor in the presence of costimulation, these cells differentiate into effector and memory T cells. Maintenance of a large and diverse naive CD4+ T cell repertoire over time is thus essential for developing immunity to a multitude of novel antigens. Despite a strong decline in thymic production of naive CD4+ T cells with aging, the circulating pool of naive CD4+ T cells is well-maintained in elderly humans. The preservation of naive CD4+ T cells in aged subjects contrasts sharply with that of naive CD8+ T cells, which decline markedly with age. In the current chapter, the mechanisms facilitating the remarkable maintenance of the naive CD4+ T cell pool with age are discussed. Important mechanisms include recognition of self-peptides by T cell receptors and stimulation by homeostatic cytokines, including interleukin-7 and interleukin-2. Furthermore, we address the implications of naive CD4+ T cell maintenance for the development of autoimmune diseases in the elderly. Lastly, two models for the development of aging-associated autoimmunity are proposed, and suggestions for further investigation are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Immunosenescence
Subtitle of host publicationBasic Understanding and Clinical Implications
EditorsTamas Fulop, Claudio Franceschi, Katsuiku Hirokawa, Graham Pawelec
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-64597-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-64597-1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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