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J Immunol. 2001 Feb 1;166(3):1554-61.

Independent regulation of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-specific T cell memory pools: relative stability of CD4 memory under conditions of CD8 memory T cell loss.

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  • 1Program in Immunology and Virology, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


Infection of mice with a series of heterologous viruses causes a reduction of memory CD8(+) T cells specific to viruses from earlier infections, but the fate of the virus-specific memory CD4(+) T cell pool following multiple virus infections has been unknown. We have previously reported that the virus-specific CD4(+) Th precursor (Thp) frequency remains stable into long-term immunity following lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection. In this study, we questioned whether heterologous virus infections or injection with soluble protein CD4 Ags would impact this stable LCMV-specific CD4(+) Thp memory pool. Limiting dilution analyses for IL-2-producing cells and intracellular cytokine staining for IFN-gamma revealed that the LCMV-specific CD4(+) Thp frequency remains relatively stable following multiple heterologous virus infections or protein Ag immunizations, even under conditions that dramatically reduce the LCMV-specific CD8(+) CTL precursor frequency. These data indicate that the CD4(+) and CD8(+) memory T cell pools are regulated independently and that the loss in CD8(+) T cell memory following heterologous virus infections is not a consequence of a parallel loss in the memory CD4(+) T cell population.

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