Age-related changes in the immune system, commonly termed “immunosenescence,” contribute to deterioration of the immune response and fundamentally impact the health and survival of elderly individuals. Immunosenescence affects both the innate and adaptive immune systems; however, the most notable changes are in T cell immunity and include thymic involution, the collapse of T cell receptor (TCR) diversity, an imbalance in T cell populations, and the clonal expansion of senescent T cells. Senescent T cells have the ability to produce large quantities of proinflammatory cytokines and cytotoxic mediators; thus, they have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many chronic inflammatory diseases. Recently, an increasing body of evidence has suggested that senescent T cells also have pathogenic potential in cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and myocardial infarction, underscoring the detrimental roles of these cells in various chronic inflammatory responses. Given that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, there is great interest in understanding the contribution of age-related immunological changes to its pathogenesis. In this review, we discuss general features of age-related alterations in T cell immunity and the possible roles of senescent T cells in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI13C0715).
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Italia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)