Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 174–178 | Cite as

Lymphocyte responses to varicella zoster virus in the elderly

  • Anthony R. Hayward
  • Mark Herberger
Original Articles


Elderly subjects (age 75–95 years) immune to varicella zoster virus (VZV) were identified by the presence of serum IgG antibody. The frequency of lymphocytes in their blood which proliferated in varicella zoster virus antigen-stimulated cultures was 1:78,000±6600. This is less than the 1:14,000±2000 frequency of VZV-responsive lymphocytes in blood from younger adult (20–43 years) donors. Elderly donors' blood mononuclear cells were less efficient than those of younger adults at lysing VZV-infected fibroblasts but not K562 target cells. The lysis of VZV target cells by elderly donors' MNC increased to control levels in the presence of 10 U/ml of interleukin-2 (IL-2). These results suggest that mononuclear cells capable of killing VZV-infected target cells persist with aging but that reduced numbers of antigenresponsive and lymphokine-releasing T cells may limit their function.

Key words

Varicella zoster virus lymphocyte cytotoxicity natural killer cell 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony R. Hayward
    • 1
  • Mark Herberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Pediatrics and MicrobiologyUniversity of Colorado School of Medicine, and Barbara Davis Center for Childhood DiabetesDenver

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