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Clin Immunol. 2006 Aug;120(2):171-8. Epub 2006 Jun 16.

Long-lived effector/central memory T-cell responses to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) S antigen in recovered SARS patients.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Zhongshan Medical School, Sun Yat-sen University, 74 Zhongshan 2nd Road, Guangzhou 510080, China.


The role of cell-mediated immunity in human SARS-CoV infection is still not well understood. In this study, we found that memory T-cell responses against the spike (S) protein were persistent for more than 1 year after SARS-CoV infection by detecting the production of IFN-gamma using ELISA and ELISpot assays. Flow cytometric analysis showed that both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells were involved in cellular responses against SARS-CoV infection. Interestingly, most of SARS-CoV S-specific memory CD4(+) T cells were central memory cells expressing CD45RO(+) CCR7(+) CD62L(-). However, the majority of memory CD8(+) T cells revealed effector memory phenotype expressing CD45RO(-) CCR7(-) CD62L(-). Thus, our study provides the evidence that SARS-CoV infection in humans can induce cellular immune response that is persistent for a long period of time. These data may have an important implication in the possibility of designing effective vaccine against SARS-CoV infection, specifically in defining T-cell populations that are implicated in protective immunity.

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