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J Virol. 2011 Oct;85(19):10252-60. doi: 10.1128/JVI.05548-11. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Longitudinal analysis of the human T cell response during acute hantavirus infection.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Microbiology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.


Longitudinal studies of T cell immune responses during viral infections in humans are essential for our understanding of how effector T cell responses develop, clear infection, and provide long-lasting immunity. Here, following an outbreak of a Puumala hantavirus infection in the human population, we longitudinally analyzed the primary CD8 T cell response in infected individuals from the first onset of clinical symptoms until viral clearance. A vigorous CD8 T cell response was observed early following the onset of clinical symptoms, determined by the presence of high numbers of Ki67(+)CD38(+)HLA-DR(+) effector CD8 T cells. This response encompassed up to 50% of total blood CD8 T cells, and it subsequently contracted in parallel with a decrease in viral load. Expression levels of perforin and granzyme B were high throughout the initial T cell response and likewise normalized following viral clearance. When monitoring regulatory components, no induction of regulatory CD4 or CD8 T cells was observed in the patients during the infection. However, CD8 as well as CD4 T cells exhibited a distinct expression profile of inhibitory PD-1 and CTLA-4 molecules. The present results provide insight into the development of the T cell response in humans, from the very onset of clinical symptoms following a viral infection to resolution of the disease.

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