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Sicilian semi- and supercentenarians: identification of age-related T-cell immunophenotype to define longevity trait

  • Authors: Ligotti, Mattia Emanuela; Accardi, Giulia; Aiello, Anna; Aprile, Stefano; Calabrò, Anna; Caldarella, Rosalia; Caruso, Calogero; Ciaccio, Marcello; Corsale, Anna Maria; Dieli, Francesco; Di Simone, Marta; Giammanco, Giovanni Maurizio; Mascarella, Chiara; Akbar, Arne N; Meraviglia, Serena; Candore, Giuseppina
  • Publication year: 2023
  • Type: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


The immunophenotype of oldest centenarians, i.e. semi- and supercentenarians, could provide important information about their ability to adapt to factors associated with immune changes, including ageing per se and chronic Cytomegalovirus infection. We investigated, by flow cytometry, variations in percentages and absolute numbers of immune cell subsets, focusing on T cells, and pro-inflammatory parameters in a cohort of 28 women and 26 men (age range 19-110 years). We observed variability in hallmarks of immunosenescence related to age and Cytomegalovirus serological status. The eight oldest centenarians showed the lowest percentages of naïve T cells, due to their age, and the highest percentages of T-effector memory cells re-expressing CD45RA (TEMRA), according to their cytomegalovirus status, and high levels of serum pro-inflammatory parameters, although their means were lower than that of remaining 90+ donors. Some of them showed CD8 naïve and TEMRA percentages, and exhaustion/pro-inflammatory markers comparable to the younger ones. Our study supports the suggestion that immune ageing, especially of oldest centenarians, exhibits great variability that is not only attributable to a single contributor but should also be the full result of a combination of several factors. Everyone ages differently because he/she is unique in genetics and experience of life and this applies even more to the immune system; everybody has had a different immunological history. Furthermore, our findings on inflammatory markers, TEMRA and CMV seropositivity in centenarians, discussed in the light of the most recent literature, suggest that these changes might be not unfavourable for centenarians, and in particular for the oldest ones.