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J Immunol. 2010 Jan 1;184(1):277-86. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0902373. Epub 2009 Nov 30.

Early CD4(+) T cell help prevents partial CD8(+) T cell exhaustion and promotes maintenance of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 latency.

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  • 1Graduate Program in Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


HSV-specific CD8(+) T cells provide constant immunosurveillance of HSV-1 latently infected neurons in sensory ganglia, and their functional properties are influenced by the presence of latent virus. In this study, we show that ganglionic HSV-specific CD8(+) T cells exhibit a higher functional avidity (ability to respond to low epitope density) than their counterparts in noninfected lungs, satisfying a need for memory effector cells that can respond to low densities of viral epitopes on latently infected neurons. We further show that lack of CD4(+) T cell help during priming leads to a transient inability to control latent virus, which was associated with a PD-1/PD-L1 mediated reduced functional avidity of ganglionic HSV-specific CD8(+) T cells. CD4(+) T cells are not needed to maintain CD8(+) T cell memory through 34 d after infection, nor do they have a direct involvement in the maintenance of HSV-1 latency.

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