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J Infect Dis. 2010 Sep 1;202(5):690-9. doi: 10.1086/655472.

Human cytomegalovirus induces systemic immune activation characterized by a type 1 cytokine signature.

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Renal Transplant Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Mechanisms underlying the onset and perpetuation of chronic immune activation in individuals without overt infectious or autoimmune diseases are unclear. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a persistent virus that induces a permanent increase of highly differentiated, interferon-gamma-secreting effector T cells. We hypothesized that, because of this increase, CMV also induces a systemic inflammatory response. We measured acute phase proteins, cytokines, and chemokines in serum samples from renal transplant recipients who developed a primary CMV infection and healthy CMV serum-positive or -negative individuals. Primary CMV infection induced a clear proinflammatory response that was maintained during latency. This response was characterized by increased levels of acute phase proteins, such as serum amyloid-A and C-reactive protein, and type 1 cytokines, such as interleukin-18, interferon-inducible protein-10, and interferon-gamma. This continuous activation of the immune system may play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic allograft rejection and potentially contribute to the acceleration of chronic diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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