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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2012 May;19(5):791-6. doi: 10.1128/CVI.05633-11. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Performance of the QuantiFERON-cytomegalovirus (CMV) assay for detection and estimation of the magnitude and functionality of the CMV-specific gamma interferon-producing CD8(+) T-cell response in allogeneic stem cell transplant recipients.

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Microbiology Service, Hospital Clínico Universitario, Valencia, Spain.


The performance of the QuantiFERON-cytomegalovirus (CMV) assay was compared to that of a flow cytometry intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) method for the detection of CMV-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-producing CD8(+) T-cell responses in allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT) recipients and for estimations of their magnitude and functionality. A total of 90 whole-blood specimens from 23 allo-SCT recipients was analyzed by both methods. Overall, the percentage of specimens that yielded concordant results by both methods was 68.8% (κ = 0.691; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.548 to 0.835), and the sensitivity of the QuantiFERON-CMV assay for the detection of positive IFN-γ T-cell responses (>0.2 IU/ml), taking the ICS method as the reference, was 76.3%. The magnitude of IFN-γ-producing CD8(+) T-cell responses to CMV-specific peptides measured with the QuantiFERON-CMV assay correlated significantly (σ = 0.695; P = <0.001) with that of the total IFN-γ-producing CD8(+) T cells and dual-functional (IFN-γ/tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-α] [σ = 0.652; P = <0.001] and IFN-γ/CD107a [σ = 0.690; P = <0.001]) and trifunctional (IFN-γ/TNF-α/CD107a [σ = 0.679; P = >0.001]) CMV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses, as quantitated by ICS. In summary, the data indicated that the QuantiFERON-CMV assay is less sensitive than the ICS method for the detection of CMV-specific IFN-γ-producing CD8(+) T-cell responses in the allo-SCT setting. Nevertheless, it allowed the estimation of the total and polyfunctional CMV-specific IFN-γ-producing CD8(+) T-cell responses in specimens that tested positive by both methods.

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