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Eur J Immunol. 1999 Sep;29(9):2908-15.

Distribution of human CMV-specific memory T cells among the CD8pos. subsets defined by CD57, CD27, and CD45 isoforms.

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Institut für Medizinische Immunologie Charité - Campus Mitte, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Chronic antigenic stimulation has been associated with peripheral blood expansions of CD8pos. T cells characterized by CD57 expression, loss of CD27 expression, and reversal of the CD45RO(bright) /RA(dim) phenotype usually associated with immunological memory towards a CD45RO(dim) /RA(bright) phenotype. However, the relationship and functional significance of these subset(s) has remained controversial. Here, this issue was addressed using a novel flow cytometric technique that allows simultaneous detection of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-specific CD8pos. memory T cells by rapid (< 6 h) HCMV peptide-specific induction of cytokine synthesis, and their phenotypic characterization, including CD57, CD27 and CD45RA/RO. The vast majority of resting CD8(pos.) T cells capable of rapid induction of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha synthesis in response to HCMV peptides were found in a subset characterized by intermediate to high expression of CD57, down-regulation/loss of CD27, and varying degrees of reversal of the classical "memory" CD45RO(bright) /RA(dim) phenotype. This subpopulation likely includes the fully differentiated memory cells responsible for the long-term immune defense against HCMV reactivation.

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