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J Virol. 2011 Jul;85(14):7256-63. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02506-10. Epub 2011 May 4.

Role of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses against JC virus in the outcome of patients with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and PML with immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome.

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  • 1Division of NeuroVirology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, E/CLS-1005, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a severe demyelinating disease of the brain caused by JC virus (JCV). To assess the role of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cells against JCV in the clinical outcome of PML and PML in the setting of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), we tested gamma interferon (IFN-γ) response by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISpot) and intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) in 117 subjects, including 66 PML patients with different clinical outcomes. Both assays were concordant and demonstrated that the cellular immune response against JCV is associated with better clinical outcome. PML survivors had an early CD8(+) T-cell response more frequently than PML progressors (100% versus 27.3%; P = 0.001), while only a trend was observed for the early CD4(+) T-cell response between these two groups (80% versus 45.5%; P = 0.18). Although IRIS itself was more frequent in the PML survivor group, there was no difference in IFN-γ-producing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cells between IRIS and non-IRIS PML patients, suggesting that T-cells expressing other cytokines likely have a role in the immunopathogenesis of IRIS. ELISpot and ICS assays are useful prognostic markers of PML evolution and may help in the clinical management of these patients.

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