Pathomechanisms of Immunosenescence in the post-myocardial infarction healing response (A3)

The prevalence of myocardial diseases increases sharply with age, but most preclinical research in cardiology is conducted in young, healthy animals. Aging is accompanied by accumulating effector T-cells with an inflammatory phenotype that can affect the post- myocardial infarction (MI) healing process. Herein, we will employ several experimental in vivo models to dissect the mechanisms through which immune status alterations associated with aging, and particularly T-cell immunosenescence, impact the post-MI outcome and the progression of ischemic heart failure.

Immunosenescence and T-Lymphozyten

Life expectancy has risen steadily over the past century, as has the occurrence of age-related diseases, such as MI and heart failure (HF). Aging is often accompanied by increased low-grade chronic inflammation and accumulated interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)-producing effector T-cells with proinflammatory and cytotoxic functions. These systemic alterations in the aging T-cell compartment impact myocardial physiology, individual susceptibility to heart diseases and long-term prognoses.

Rationale and aims

Our overarching hypothesis is that the immunosenescence profile, marked by clonal expansions of IFN-γ-pro- ducing T-cells and a decline in the naïve T-cell pool, impacts the post-MI healing potential and accelerates the development of ischemic heart failure. 


Herein, we will (a) assess the roles of expanded IFN-γ-producing T-cells in driving age-related myocardial inflammation and their impacts on post-MI responses in the elderly, (b) seek to elucidate the antigen specificities of the IFN-γ-producing T-cells that undergo clonal expansions in the aging/infarcted heart and (c) explore how immune senescence induced by infections with common pathogens affects the post-MI repair capacity.

Significance and outlook

Aging is an inevitable process, but the pace and intensity at which immunosenescence progresses can largely vary among subjects. Thus, assessing T-cell senescence status in patients with heart disease might offer valuable diagnostic and prognostic information.


Portraitfoto PhD Gustavo Ramos

Prof. Dr. rer. nat.
Gustavo Ramos

Leader of the CRC projects A3 and B6

+49 931 201-46477

Prof. Dr. med.
Georg Gasteiger

Leader of the CRC project A3

+49 931 31-84717


Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, Universitätsklinikum Würzburg, Zentrum für Innere Medizin (ZIM), Oberdürrbacher Straße 6, Haus A3, 97080 Würzburg, Deutschland 

Deutsches Zentrum für Herzinsuffizienz Würzburg | Comprehensive Heart Failure Center | Am Schwarzenberg 15 | Haus A15 | 97078 Würzburg