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PLoS One. 2010 Dec 13;5(12):e15343. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015343.

Surface phenotype and functionality of WNV specific T cells differ with age and disease severity.

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1
Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) infection can result in severe neuroinvasive disease, particularly in persons with advanced age. As rodent models demonstrate that T cells play an important role in limiting WNV infection, and strong T cell responses to WNV have been observed in humans, we postulated that inadequate antiviral T cell immunity was involved in neurologic sequelae and the more severe outcomes associated with age. We previously reported the discovery of six HLA-A*0201 restricted WNV peptide epitopes, with the dominant T cell targets in naturally infected individuals being SVG9 (Env) and SLF9 (NS4b). Here, memory phenotype and polyfunctional CD8+ T cell responses to these dominant epitopes were assessed in 40 WNV seropositive patients displaying diverse clinical symptoms. The patients' PBMC were stained with HLA-I multimers loaded with the SVG9 and SLF9 epitopes and analyzed by multicolor flow cytometry. WNV-specific CD8+ T cells were found in peripheral blood several months post infection. The number of WNV-specific T cells in older individuals was the same, if not greater, than in younger members of the cohort. WNV-specific T cells were predominantly monofunctional for CD107a, MIP-1β, TNFα, IL-2, or IFNγ. When CD8+ T cell responses were stratified by disease severity, an increased number of terminally differentiated, memory phenotype (CD45RA+ CD27- CCR7- CD57+) T cells were detected in patients suffering from viral neuroinvasion. In conclusion, T cells of a terminally differentiated/cytolytic profile are associated with neuroinvasion and, regardless of age, monofunctional T cells persist following infection. These data provide the first indication that particular CD8+ T cell phenotypes are associated with disease outcome following WNV infection.

PMID:
21179445
PMCID:
PMC3001480
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0015343
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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