CTLA-4 upregulation during aging

Qibin Leng, Zvi Bentwich, Gadi Borkow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The immune system gradually becomes anergic with age. Here, we measured intracellular levels of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4), a negative regulator of T-cells, in 53 healthy individuals aged 18-94. We found a highly significant correlation between age and percent of CTLA-4+CD4+ cells (r=0.6, P<0.001) and between age and mean fluorescence intensities of CTLA-4 (i.e. number of molecules, r=0.61, P<0.001). CTLA-4 levels were also correlated with immune activation, determined by levels of HLA-DR+CD3+ cells (r=0.55, P<0.001). We postulate that immune senescence associated with age is caused in part by chronic immune activation with related decrease in CD28 costimulatory molecules and increase in inhibitory CTLA-4 molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1421
Number of pages3
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Anergy
  • CD28
  • CTLA-4
  • Immune activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology


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