Memory Inflation during Chronic Viral Infection Is Maintained by Continuous Production of Short-Lived, Functional T Cells

Christopher M. Snyder, Kathy S. Cho, Elizabeth L. Bonnett, Serani van Dommelen, Geoffrey R. Shellam, Ann B. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

202 Scopus citations

Abstract

During persistent murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection, the T cell response is maintained at extremely high intensity for the life of the host. These cells closely resemble human CMV-specific cells, which compose a major component of the peripheral T cell compartment in most people. Despite a phenotype that suggests extensive antigen-driven differentiation, MCMV-specific T cells remain functional and respond vigorously to viral challenge. We hypothesized that a low rate of antigen-driven proliferation would account for the maintenance of this population. Instead, we found that most of these cells divided only sporadically in chronically infected hosts and had a short half-life in circulation. The overall population was supported, at least in part, by memory T cells primed early in infection, as well as by recruitment of naive T cells at late times. Thus, these data show that memory inflation is maintained by a continuous replacement of short-lived, functional cells during chronic MCMV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-659
Number of pages10
JournalImmunity
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 17 2008

Keywords

  • CELL_IMMUNO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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