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.