Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Immunological status of healthy older individuals aged 55 - 70 years

Immune status was determined in a representative sample of healthy late-middle aged individuals (55–70 years), by measuring leukocyte and lymphocyte subpopulations in whole-blood samples. Venepuncture was undertaken in 93 individuals that met a defined inclusion criteria, including health and lifestyle and psychosocial questionnaires, and blood screening for determinants of healthy ageing. There were significant age effects (P<0.1) on eosinophils, monocyte phagocytic activity, and CD3/HLA-DR late-activated T-lymphocytes. There was a significant (P<0.1) age x sex interaction in the absolute counts (x109/l) of CD3CD8 total T-cytotoxic lymphocytes, the CD4 T-helper to CD8 T-cytotoxic lymphocytes ratio, the CD4/CD45RA naive T-helper to CD4/CD45RO memory T-helper lymphocytes ratio, and the % expression of IL-1b by activated monocytes.

In conclusion, the results show that a number of alterations in immune function occur between the ages of 55–70 years, and that these are largely sex specific. The study provides reference values for the lymphocyte measures, which have previously been unreported for healthy men and post-menopausal women in this age group.

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