Cytomegalovirus infection in transplant recipients resolves when circulating gammadelta T lymphocytes expand, suggesting a protective antiviral role

J Infect Dis. 2001 Sep 1;184(5):533-41. doi: 10.1086/322843. Epub 2001 Jul 31.


gammadelta T cells undergo massive expansion in the peripheral blood of renal transplant recipients who are infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV). In a 3-year prospective study, the relationship between the evolution of CMV infection and the kinetics of gammadelta T cell amplification was followed for 10 months after transplantation. Patients with late gammadelta T cell expansion (>/=45 days) had significantly longer (P<.0001) and higher (P<.0003) pp65 antigenemia and more-symptomatic CMV disease than did patients with early expansion. Analysis of data for each patient showed that gammadelta T cell expansion is concomitant with the resolution of CMV infection and disease, regardless of the CMV serologic status of donor and recipient before transplantation. These observations point to gammadelta T cell percentage determination as a new, rapid, and reliable prognosis factor to predict the resolution of CMV infection and strongly suggest that gammadelta T cells play a protective role against CMV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphoproteins / immunology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / immunology*


  • Phosphoproteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • cytomegalovirus matrix protein 65kDa