A constant companion: immune recognition and response to cytomegalovirus with aging and implications for immune fitness

Aisha Souquette, Justin Frere, Megan Smithey, Delphine Sauce, Paul G Thomas

Geroscience, 39(3), 293-303. 01/06/2017

PMID: 28647907


Approximately 50% of individuals aged 6–49 years in the United States are infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV), with seroprevalence increasing with age, reaching 85–90% by 75–80 years according to Bate et al. (Clin Infect Dis 50 (11): 1439-1447, 2010) and Pawelec et al. (Curr Opin Immunol 24:507-511, 2012). Following primary infection, CMV establishes lifelong latency with periodic reactivation. Immunocompetent hosts experience largely asymptomatic infection, but CMV can cause serious illness in immunocompromised populations, such as transplant patients and the elderly. Control of CMV requires constant immune surveillance, and recent discoveries suggest this demand alters general features of the immune system in infected individuals. Here, we review recent advances in the understanding of the immune response to CMV and the role of CMV in immune aging and fitness, while highlighting …