Adaptive immune responses are severely affected by the aging process as reflected by an increased morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases and a low efficacy of vaccination in elderly persons. Age-related changes within the bone marrow and thymus lead to an impaired generation of new T and B cells severely compromising the maintenance of a diverse and balanced T and B cell repertoire in old age. The maintenance of a balanced T cell repertoire is further challenged by latent persistent infections, such as Cytomegalovirus. Understanding the mechanisms of age-related alterations of the adaptive immune response may help to facilitate the development of more efficient vaccines for elderly persons and to envisage strategies to overcome immunosenescence.
Keywords: Aging, T cell, B cell, cytomegalovirus, Th17, Treg
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