Generation and maintenance of memory T cells

Curr Opin Immunol. 2001 Apr;13(2):248-54. doi: 10.1016/s0952-7915(00)00211-9.


Typical immune responses lead to the prominent clonal expansion of antigen-specific T cells followed by their differentiation into effector cells. Most effector cells die at the end of the immune response but some of the responding cells survive and form long-lived memory cells. The factors controlling the formation and survival of memory T cells are discussed. Recent evidence suggests that T memory cells arise from a subset of effector cells. The longevity of T memory cells may require continuous contact with cytokines, notably IL-15 for CD8(+) cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Survival
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Histocompatibility Antigens