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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 8

of 'Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and treatment of cytomegalovirus infection in immunocompetent adults'

Functional heterogeneity and high frequencies of cytomegalovirus-specific CD8(+) T lymphocytes in healthy seropositive donors.
Gillespie GM, Wills MR, Appay V, O'Callaghan C, Murphy M, Smith N, Sissons P, Rowland-Jones S, Bell JI, Moss PA
J Virol. 2000;74(17):8140.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection is largely asymptomatic in the immunocompetent host, but remains a major cause of morbidity in immunosuppressed individuals. Using the recently described technique of staining antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells with peptide-HLA tetrameric complexes, we have demonstrated high levels of antigen-specific cells specific for HCMV peptides and show that this may exceed 4% of CD8(+) T cells in immunocompetent donors. Moreover, by staining with tetramers in combination with antibodies to cell surface markers and intracellular cytokines, we demonstrate functional heterogeneity of HCMV-specific populations. A substantial proportion of these are effector cytotoxic T lymphocytes, as demonstrated by their ability to lyse peptide-pulsed targets in "fresh" killing assays. These data suggest that the immune response to HCMV is periodically boosted by a low level of HCMV replication and that sustained immunological surveillance contributes to the maintenance of host-pathogen homeostasis. These observations should improve our understanding of the immunobiology of persistent viral infection.
MRC Human Immunology Unit, Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, United Kingdom. ggillesp@molbiol.ox.ac.uk