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Curr Opin Immunol. 2004 Jun;16(3):271-6.

Apoptosis and loss of virus-specific CD8+ T-cell memory.

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Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


CD8(+) T-cell memory to viruses is stable in the absence but volatile in the presence of other infections. Apoptotic events that occur early in acute infections delete pre-existing memory T cells, leaving the host with reduced memory (except for cross-reactive responses) to previously encountered viruses. Apoptotic events also silence the acute immune response, leaving the host with a residual population of memory T cells. Persistent infections can induce apoptotic deletions of memory T cells that are specific to the persisting virus and to previously encountered pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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