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Blood Rev. 2003 Dec;17(4):259-64.

Human cytomegalovirus-specific immunity following haemopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge Clinical School, Cambridge, UK.


The herpesvirus Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is an important opportunistic infection in recipients of allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplants, in whom HCMV-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell responses are impaired. The nature of the HCMV-specific T-cell response in healthy virus carriers has been characterised in detail. High frequencies of circulating CD8+ T-cells that recognise defined viral peptides are maintained for years, and include individual CD8+ clones that have undergone extensive clonal expansion and phenotypic diversification in vivo. Following stem cell transplantation, the kinetics of HCMV-specific CD8+ T-cell reconstitution in the recipient are related to the presence or absence of antigen-experienced CD8+ T-cells transferred via the allograft, and to the presence of the virus in the recipient. We discuss recent progress in our understanding of HCMV-specific immunity in healthy virus carriers and in recipients after alloSCT.

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