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J Exp Med. 2010 Jun 7;207(6):1153-60. doi: 10.1084/jem.20090283. Epub 2010 May 10.

The route of priming influences the ability of respiratory virus-specific memory CD8+ T cells to be activated by residual antigen.

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Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, NY 12983, USA.


After respiratory virus infections, memory CD8+ T cells are maintained in the lung airways by a process of continual recruitment. Previous studies have suggested that this process is controlled, at least in the initial weeks after virus clearance, by residual antigen in the lung-draining mediastinal lymph nodes (MLNs). We used mouse models of influenza and parainfluenza virus infection to show that intranasally (i.n.) primed memory CD8+ T cells possess a unique ability to be reactivated by residual antigen in the MLN compared with intraperitoneally (i.p.) primed CD8+ T cells, resulting in the preferential recruitment of i.n.-primed memory CD8+ T cells to the lung airways. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the inability of i.p.-primed memory CD8+ T cells to access residual antigen can be corrected by a subsequent i.n. virus infection. Thus, two independent factors, initial CD8+ T cell priming in the MLN and prolonged presentation of residual antigen in the MLN, are required to maintain large numbers of antigen-specific memory CD8+ T cells in the lung airways.

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