Limited effect of duration of CMV infection on adaptive immunity and frailty: insights from a 27-year-long longitudinal study

Leonard Daniël Samson*, Sara P.H. van den Berg, Peter Engelfriet, Annemieke M.H. Boots, Marion Hendriks, Lia G.H. de Rond, Mary lène de Zeeuw-Brouwer, WM Monique Verschuren, José A.M. Borghans, Anne Marie Buisman, Debbie van Baarle

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

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Objectives: Cytomegalovirus infection is thought to affect the immune system and to impact general health during ageing. Higher CMV-specific antibody levels in the elderly are generally assumed to reflect experienced viral reactivation during life. Furthermore, high levels of terminally differentiated and CMV-specific T cells are hallmarks of CMV infection, which are thought to expand over time, a process also referred to as memory inflation.

Methods: We studied CMV-specific antibody levels over ~ 27 years in 268 individuals (aged 60-89 years at study endpoint), and to link duration of CMV infection to T-cell numbers, CMV-specific T-cell functions, frailty and cardiovascular disease at study endpoint.

Results: In our study, 136/268 individuals were long-term CMV seropositive and 19 seroconverted during follow-up (seroconversion rate: 0.56%/year). CMV-specific antibody levels increased slightly over time. However, we did not find an association between duration of CMV infection and CMV-specific antibody levels at study endpoint. No clear association between duration of CMV infection and the size and function of the memory T-cell pool was observed. Elevated CMV-specific antibody levels were associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease but not with frailty. Age at CMV seroconversion was positively associated with CMV-specific antibody levels, memory CD4+ T-cell numbers and frailty.

Conclusion: Cytomegalovirus-specific memory T cells develop shortly after CMV seroconversion but do not seem to further increase over time. Age-related effects other than duration of CMV infection seem to contribute to CMV-induced changes in the immune system. Although CMV-specific immunity is not evidently linked to frailty, it tends to associate with higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease.

Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummere1193
Pagina's (van-tot)e1193
Aantal pagina's18
TijdschriftClinical and Translational Immunology
Volume9
Nummer van het tijdschrift10
DOI's
StatusPublished - 2020

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