Author(s): Reusser P, Cathomas G, Attenhofer R, Tamm M, Thiel G
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Abstract The role of cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and T helper cells (Th) in controlling CMV infection, as detected by antigenemia assay and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in blood leukocytes, and CMV disease was investigated in 20 renal transplant recipients. Within 3 months after transplant, CMV-specific CTL and Th responses were demonstrable in 11 (55\%) and 15 (75\%) patients, respectively; CMV infection was detected by antigenemia and PCR in 19 (95\%) patients each. During the month of first CMV detection, there was an inverse correlation between CTL response and antigenemia at >/=20 positive cells/105 leukocytes (P=.007) but no association with lower antigenemia levels or PCR positivity. CMV disease developed in 7 (35\%) patients and was associated with high-level antigenemia but was inversely correlated with detection of CTLs (P=.04). After renal transplantation, CMV-specific CTLs limit the systemic virus load as reflected by antigenemia levels and thereby mediate protection from CMV disease.
This article was published in J Infect Dis
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology