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.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.