The strict species specificity of Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has impeded our understanding of antiviral adaptive immune responses in the context of a human immune system. We have previously shown that HCMV infection of human hematopoietic progenitor cells engrafted in immune deficient mice (huNSG) results in viral latency that can be reactivated following G-CSF treatment. In this study, we characterized the functional human adaptive immune responses in HCMV latently-infected huBLT (humanized Bone marrow-Liver-Thymus) mice. Following infection, huBLT mice generate human effector and central memory CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses reactive to peptides corresponding to both IE and pp65 proteins. Additionally, both HCMV specific IgM and IgG B-cell responses with the ability to neutralize virus were detected. These results indicate that the HCMV huBLT mouse model may provide a valuable tool to study viral latency and reactivation as well as evaluate HCMV vaccines and immune responses in the context of a functional human immune system.
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