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CMV-independent increase in CD27−CD28+ CD8+ EMRA T cells is inversely related to mortality in octogenarians

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Carmen Martin-RuizORCiD, Professor Thomas von Zglinicki, Dr Gavin RichardsonORCiD, Lilia Draganova, Dr Rachael Redgrave, Dr Joanna Collerton, Professor Helen ArthurORCiD, Professor Bernard Keavney, Professor Ioakim SpyridopoulosORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) seropositivity in adults has been linked to increased cardiovascular disease burden. Phenotypically, CMV infection leads to an inflated CD8 T-lymphocyte compartment. We employed a 8-colour flow cytometric protocol to analyse circulating T cells in 597 octogenarians from the same birth cohort together with NT-proBNP measurements and followed all participants over 7 years. We found that, independent of CMV serostatus, a high number of CD27−CD28+ CD8 EMRA T-lymphocytes (TEMRA) protected from all-cause death after adjusting for known risk factors, such as heart failure, frailty or cancer (Hazard ratio 0.66 for highest vs lowest tertile; confidence interval 0.51–0.86). In addition, CD27−CD28+ CD8 EMRA T-lymphocytes protected from both, non-cardiovascular (hazard ratio 0.59) and cardiovascular death (hazard ratio 0.65). In aged mice treated with the senolytic navitoclax, in which we have previously shown a rejuvenated cardiac phenotype, CD8 effector memory cells are decreased, further indicating that alterations in T cell subpopulations are associated with cardiovascular ageing. Future studies are required to show whether targeting immunosenescence will lead to enhanced life- or healthspan.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Martin-Ruiz C, Hoffmann J, Shmeleva E, von Zglinicki T, Richardson G, Draganova L, Redgrave R, Collerton J, Arthur H, Keavney B, Spyridopoulos I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease

Year: 2020

Volume: 6

Online publication date: 21/02/2020

Acceptance date: 02/01/2020

Date deposited: 21/01/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2056-3973

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41514-019-0041-y


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Funder referenceFunder name
British Heart Foundation
Medical Research Council