Successive emergence of two CD8 subsets in primary CMV infection of allograft recipients

Transpl Int. 1994;7 Suppl 1:S611-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.1994.tb01456.x.


Allograft recipients with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection develop increased proportions of circulating CD8+ lymphocytes. A longitudinal study of 11 kidney and 5 liver allograft recipients with primary CMV infection but no other aetiological factor to explain graft dysfunction revealed selective imbalances in peripheral blood CD8+ T cell subsets. Initially, CMV viraemia was associated with elevated CD8+bright T cell numbers and T cell activation. Activation markers fell to normal when viral cultures became negative (before the end of the 1st month). During the 2nd-6th months, most (12/16) patients continued to have high CD8+ T cell counts (1050-2900 CD8+ cells/mm3), comprising an uncommon CD8+ T cell subset, as 45-73% of CD8+bright lymphocytes were CD3+ and TCRalphabeta+ but were not stained by anti-CD28, CD11b, CD16, CD56 and CD57 antibody. Unexpectedly, CD8+ CD57+ T cells, a hallmark of CMV infection, did not appear until the 2nd-6th months of primary CMV infection, and their numbers increased progressively thereafter. They became the predominant CD8+ T cell subset after about 6 months of infection and their persistence for several (up to 4) years was strongly correlated (r = 0.87) with expansion of CD8+ cells. Persistence of CD8 lymphocytosis was, thus, directly related to the rate of expansion of an uncommon CD8+ CD57- subset and its progressive replacement by CD8+ CD57+ T cells that were chronically elicited by CMV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD / blood
  • CD57 Antigens / blood
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Postoperative Complications / immunology
  • Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell / blood
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / blood
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / blood
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Viremia / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD57 Antigens
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2