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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The immune status of healthy centenarians.

The immune status of 17 healthy individuals 100-103 years of age (centenarians) was investigated. Qualitative values for immunoglobulins IgG, IgM, IgA, and IgE were within normal ranges for subjects more than 60 years of age with the exception of elevated IgM in one individual. Cell marker studies employing a panel of 27 monoclonal antibodies delineating T and B lymphocytes, monocytes, natural killer cells, granulocytes, and functional and developmental subsets of each were performed to phenotype the peripheral blood leukocytes. Although the total lymphocyte count was normal in every subject, the numbers of T4-positive helper-inducer T lymphocytes were profoundly depressed, as were responses to the mitogen phytohemagglutinin and interleukin-2 production. Activated immature T lymphocytes and the number of cells bearing the phenotype of natural killer cells were increased, but natural killer cell activity was normal. Early B lymphocytes were also increased. The relative concentration of monocytes was normal. Taken together these findings indicate that the immune system in centenarians is similar to that in younger but still elderly individuals, i.e., discriminating T-lymphoid functions are reduced in association with an apparent failure of some T, B, and natural killer cells to differentiate to functional maturity.[1]


  1. The immune status of healthy centenarians. Thompson, J.S., Wekstein, D.R., Rhoades, J.L., Kirkpatrick, C., Brown, S.A., Roszman, T., Straus, R., Tietz, N. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. (1984) [Pubmed]
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