Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Am Soc Nephrol. 2002 Oct;13(10):2577-84.

Dominance of virus-specific CD8 T cells in human primary cytomegalovirus infection.

Author information

  • 1Medical Department IV, Division of Nephrology, University of the Saarland, Homburg, Germany.


Cellular immune responses are of high importance in initiating and maintaining immunity against virus infections. Whereas the cellular immune response during persistent cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is well assessable, the individual contribution of CD4 and CD8 T cell responses during primary infection has not been described. A novel whole-blood assay, which relies on the flow-cytometric detection of antigen-induced cytokine expression, was used to characterize CMV-specific CD4 and CD8 T cell responses during primary infection of CMV seronegative recipients of a renal allograft from a CMV seropositive donor. These T cell responses were compared with long-term CMV-positive patients with known history of transplantation-related seroconversion. Results were further correlated to CMV load and serum IgG and IgM. The long-term seroconverted patients consistently showed a dominant CMV-specific CD4 T cell response (median frequencies: CD4, 1.12% [range, 0.35 to 8.10%] versus CD8 0.13% [range, <0.05 to 0.55%]). In contrast, during primary infection, the cellular immune response is strongly dominated by CMV-specific CD8 T cells (median peak frequencies: CD4, 1.24% [range, 0.21 to 1.60%] versus CD8, 2.47% [range, 1.34 to 6.67%]). Upon receipt of ganciclovir, viral load as well as CMV-specific CD8 responses decreased. The frequency of the respective CD4 T cells fluctuated during decrease of CMV load and became dominant over CMV-specific CD8 T cell responses. These results are consistent with the view of an effective direct antiviral activity of CD8 T cells, which is most critical during periods of high viremia. Later on during persistent infection, CD4 T cells dominate the immune response to support the state of antiviral immunity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center