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Cell Immunol. 2011;269(2):78-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2011.04.008. Epub 2011 Apr 23.

Low numbers and altered phenotype of invariant natural killer T cells in recurrent varicella zoster virus infection.

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Third Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.


Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells play an important role in the immune response against various infectious agents. In this study we investigated their role in human defense against the varicella zoster virus. We observed decreased numbers of iNKT cells in patients who failed to control latent varicella zoster virus infection, e.g. underwent several reactivations of the virus. The residual population of iNKT cells expressed significantly higher levels of inhibitory receptor CD158a that was further up-regulated in the course of acute viral infection. Both of these abnormalities might contribute to impaired control of varicella zoster virus in human.

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