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J Immunol. 1999 Jul 15;163(2):675-81.

Phenotypic identification of antigen-dependent and antigen-independent CD8 CTL precursors in the draining lymph node during acute cutaneous herpes simplex virus type 1 infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, School of Medicine, Shreveport 71130, USA.


Optimal immunological control of cutaneous herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infections initiated in the hind footpad of C57BL/6 (B6, H-2b) mice is dependent upon the presence of functional HSV-1-specific T lymphocytes. The class I MHC-restricted, CD8+ T cell subpopulation is involved in the clearance of infectious HSV-1 from the skin and limiting HSV-1 replication and spread within the peripheral nervous system. However, the frequency of HSV-1-specific CTL precursors (CTLp), as a measure of potential anti-viral CD8+ T cell function, is relatively low compared with other acute viral infections. To gain insight into the basis for this low functional frequency, changes in the CD8+ T cell subpopulation phenotype associated with activation and differentiation were investigated. Analysis of the phenotypic changes showed that HSV-1-specific CTLp were found predominantly within a subpopulation of CD8+ T cells expressing high levels of CD44 (CD44high) and high levels of the IL-2 receptor alpha-chain (CD25high). A second activated subpopulation of CD8+ T cells expressing the CD44high CD25low phenotype did not contain detectable HSV-1-specific CTLp, even after the addition of HSV-1-infected stimulator cells as a source of an exogenous Ag. These data suggested that HSV-1-specific CD8+ T cells must increase expression of CD25 before attaining the potential to become CTL effector cells. These findings also indicated that the up-regulation of CD44 alone is not sufficient to identify precisely HSV-1-specific CD8+ T cells.

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