Association between Immunosenescence Phenotypes and pre-frailty in Older Subjects: Does Cytomegalovirus Play a Role?

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Frailty is highly prevalent in old age and confers an important mortality risk. Although the causes of frailty are multiple, immuno-senescence (IS) - predominantly driven by cytomegalovirus (CMV) - has been implicated in its pathophysiology. Thus far, research examining the association between IS and frailty states is sparse and equivocal. On the other hand, evidence is mounting in support of the view that frailty can be reversed, especially for those in the pre-frail stage. Therefore, we aimed to clarify the impact of CMV on IS and its relevance to pre-frailty. 173 persons aged 80 to 99 years were enrolled. Pre-frailty was defined according to Fried's criteria. Anti-CMV IgG and serum IL-6 were measured using Architect iSystem and Luminex, respectively. T-cell phenotypes were determined using flow cytometry. The prevalence of pre-frailty was 52.6%, increased with age (p=0.001), and was greater in men than women (p=0.044). No relationship was found between pre-frailty and positive CMV serology. Further, CMV-seropositivity was significantly associated with less naïve cells, more memory and senescence-prone phenotypes (all p<0.001). After adjusting for potential confounders, only IL-6, age and sex were predictive of pre-frailty. We conclude that the presence of pre-frailty is independent from CMV infection in very old subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-488
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


  • Immunosenescence Phenotypes
  • pre-frailty
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Frailty
  • mortality risk
  • Senescence
  • Lymphocytes
  • Robust
  • Inflammation


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