Science (2020)

Aging T cells regulate multiple features of aging in mice, and their dysfunction may lead to age-associated disease.

Aging is known to result in an increased susceptibility to disease, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are largely unknown. There are known changes in metabolism that occur during the aging process that are thought to contribute to this.

Desdín-Micó et al. mimic a process in mice that occurs during aging — the loss of mitochondrial function in T cells — through the use of genetic knockout models. This results in multiple age-related features, including the increase in circulating cytokines known as ‘inflammaging’, which, they show, induces senescence in mice. This role of T cells in regulating organismal lifespan could be involved in age-associated diseases.