Aging is generally characterized as a gradual increase in tissue damage, which is associated with senescence and chronic systemic inflammation and is evident in a variety of age-related diseases. The extent to which such tissue damage is a result of a gradual decline in immune regulation, which consequently compromises the capacity of the body to repair damages, has not been fully explored. Whereas CD4 T lymphocytes play a critical role in the orchestration of immunity, thymus involution initiates gradual changes in the CD4 T-cell landscape, which may significantly compromise tissue repair. In this review, we describe the lifespan accumulation of specific dysregulated CD4 T-cell subsets and their coevolution with systemic inflammation in the process of declined immunity and tissue repair capacity with age. Then, we discuss the process of thymus involution—which appears to be most pronounced around puberty—as a possible driver of the aging T-cell landscape. Finally, we identify individualized T cell-based early diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic strategies for age-related diseases.
- Chronic systemic inflammation
- Dysregulated CD4 T cells
- Immune-mediated repair
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology