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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2010 Dec;9(12):1453-63. doi: 10.1586/erv.10.132.

Cytolytic CD4(+) T cells in viral immunity.

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Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School Building 149, 13th Street, 5th floor, #5217, Charlestown, Boston, MA 02129, USA.


It is generally believed that the role of CD4(+) T cells is to coordinate the different arms of the adaptive immune system to shape an effective response against a pathogen and regulate nonessential or deleterious activities. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that effector CD4(+) T cells can directly display potent antiviral activity themselves. The presence of cytolytic CD4(+) T cells has been demonstrated in the immune response to numerous viral infections in both humans and in animal models and it is likely that they play a critical role in the control of viral replication in vivo. This article describes the current research on virus-specific cytolytic CD4(+) T cells, with a focus on HIV-1 infection and the implications that this immune response has for vaccine design.

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