Senescent T-lymphocytes are mobilised into the peripheral blood compartment in young and older humans after exhaustive exercise

Richard J. Simpson, Cormac Cosgrove, Lesley A. Ingram, Geraint D. Florida-James, Greg P. Whyte, Hanspeter Pircher, Keith Guy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Senescent T-lymphocytes are antigen-experienced cells that express the killer-cell lectin-like receptor G1 (KLRG1) and/or CD57; fail to clonally expand following further antigenic stimulation and prevail in the resting blood of older adults compared to the young. Physical exercise mobilises T-lymphocytes into the bloodstream and is therefore a model with which to compare age-related phenotypes of blood-resident T-cells with those T-cells entering the blood from peripheral lymphoid compartments. Eight young (Y; Age: 21 ± 3 years) and 8 older (O; Age: 56 ± 3 years) healthy males completed a maximal treadmill exercise protocol. Blood lymphocytes isolated before, immediately after and 1 h after exercise were assessed for cell surface expression of KLRG1, CD57, CD28, CD45RA, CD45RO, CD62L and lymphocyte subset markers using three-colour flow cytometry. Lymphocyte subset numbers (CD3+, CD3+/CD4+, CD3+/CD8 and CD3-/CD56+) increased with exercise (p < 0.05) but were not different between Y and O. At rest and immediately after exercise, the percentage of CD3+/CD8+ T-lymphocytes expressing KLRG1 and CD45RO was greater in O than Y, whereas Y had a greater expression of CD45RA and CD62L than O. The percentage of all CD3+/CD8+ and CD3+/CD4+ T-lymphocytes expressing KLRG1 and CD57 increased after exercise, but the magnitude of change was not age-dependent. In conclusion, there is a greater proportion of senescent CD3+/CD8+ T-lymphocytes in the blood of older adults compared to young at rest and immediately after exhaustive exercise, indicating that the greater frequency of KLRG1+/CD8+ T-lymphocytes in older humans is ubiquitous and not localised to the peripheral blood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-551
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Age
  • CD28
  • CD57
  • Flow cytometry
  • KLRG1
  • Lymphocyte proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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