Analysis of T and NK cell subsets in Sicilian population from young to supercentenarian: the role of age and gender

Matteo Bulati, Anna Aiello, Calogero Caruso, Fanny Pojero, Giulia Accardi, Giovanni Giammanco, Giuseppina Candore, Mattia Emanuela Ligotti, Farzin Farzaneh, Nahid Zareian, Stefano Aprile, Mattia Emanuela Ligotti, Matteo Bulati, Francesco Gervasi, Floriana Bonura, Stefano Aprile

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Ageing dramatically affects number and function of both innate and adaptive arms of immune system, particularly T cell subsets, contributing to reduced vaccination efficacy, decreased resistance to infections and increased prevalence of cancer in the older people. In the present paper, we analysed the age-related changes in the absolute number of lymphocytes in 214 Sicilian subjects, and in the percentages of T and NK cells in a sub-cohort of donors. We compared these results with the immunophenotype of the oldest living Italian supercentenarian (111 years old). The results were also sorted by gender. The correlation between number/percentage of cells and age in all individuals and, separately, in males and females, was examined using a simple linear regression analysis. We did not record the increase in the rate of inversion of the CD4/CD8 ratio frequently reported as associated with ageing in literature. Our observation was the direct consequence of a flat average trend of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell percentages in ageing donors, even when gender differences were included. Our results also suggest that CD4+ and CD8+ subsets are not affected equally by age comparing females with males, and we speculated that gender may affect the response to CMV infection. The supercentenarian showed a unique immunophenotypic signature as regards the relative percentages of her T cell subsets, with CD4+ and CD8+ T cell percentages and CD4+ naïve T cell values in line with those recorded for the octogenarian subjects. This suggests that the supercentenarian has a naïve "younger" T cell profile comparable to that of a >80 year old female.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages0
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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