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J Virol. 2005 Aug;79(15):9527-39.

CD4+ T-cell reconstitution reduces cytomegalovirus in the immunocompromised brain.

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Section of Comparative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the most common opportunistic infection of the central nervous system in patients with human immunodeficiency virus or AIDS or on immunosuppressive drug therapy. Despite medical management, infection may be refractory to treatment and continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality. We investigated adoptive transfer as an approach to treat and prevent neurotropic CMV infection in an adult immunodeficient mouse model. SCID mice were challenged with intracranial murine CMV (MCMV) and reconstituted with MCMV- or vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-sensitized splenocytes, T cells, or T-cell subsets. T cells labeled with vital dye or that constitutively generated green fluorescent protein (GFP) were identified in the brain as early as 3 days following peripheral transfer. Regardless of specificity, activated T cells localized to regions of the brain containing CMV, however, only those specific for CMV were effective at clearing virus. Reconstitution with unsorted MCMV-immune splenocytes, enriched T-cell fractions, or CD4(+) cells significantly reduced virus levels in the brain within 7 days and also prevented clinical disease, in significant contrast with mice given VSV-immune unsorted splenocytes, MCMV-immune CD8(+) T cells, and SCID control mice. Results suggest CMV-immune T cells (particularly CD4(+)) rapidly cross the blood-brain barrier, congregate at sites of specific CMV infection, and functionally eliminate acute CMV within the brain. In addition, when CMV-immune splenocytes were administered prior to a peripheral CMV challenge, CMV entry into the immunocompromised brain was prevented. Systemic adoptive transfer may be a rapid and effective approach to preventing CMV entrance into the brain and for reducing neurotropic infection.

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