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Clin Exp Immunol. 1993 Nov;94(2):297-305.

Subsets of CD8+, CD57+ cells in normal, healthy individuals: correlations with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) carrier status, phenotypic and functional analyses.

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Department of Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Health Hospital, Cardiff, UK.


Two different subsets of CD8+, CD57+ cells have been defined, one expressing high levels (CD8high+(CD57+)), the other expressing low levels of surface CD8 (CD8low+(CD57+)). Increased numbers of CD8high+(CD57+) cells correlated with previous HCMV infection. By three-colour fluorescence analysis, the CD8high+(CD57+) population expressed T cell markers such as CD3 and CD5, and most were alpha beta T cell receptor (alpha beta TCR)-positive. A significant proportion also expressed CD71 (transferrin receptor) and MHC class I, although little if any CD25 (IL-2R-p55). Some (> or = 40%) co-expressed CD45RA and CD45RO. The CD8low+(CD57+) population expressed classical natural killer (NK) cell markers--CD2, CD16 and CD56. The two subsets were also functionally distinct; CD8high+(CD57+) cells suppressed pokeweed mitogen (PWM)-driven, but not phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-driven proliferation and immunoglobulin production; CD8low+(CD57+) cells exhibited NK cytotoxic activity which was not increased by interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha). Supernatant from cultured CD8high+(CD57+) cells suppressed PWM-driven immunoglobulin production, but not proliferation, and this effect was abrogated by physical separation with tissue culture inserts. Thus, a T cell subset expressing activation and memory T cell markers with direct non-specific suppressor activity was present in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of healthy subjects with asymptomatic HCMV infection.

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