Long-term memory cellular immune response to dengue virus after a natural primary infection

Int J Infect Dis. 2002 Jun;6(2):125-8. doi: 10.1016/s1201-9712(02)90073-1.


Objectives: This study was conducted to examine the memory T-cell response to dengue virus 20 years after a primary infection. We took advantage of the exceptional epidemiologic situation in Cuba, where the population initially suffered two large successive epidemics due to dengue virus 1 and 2 respectively over a 4-year period. Thereafter, no dengue virus circulation was subsequently observed, except for the Santiago de Cuba municipality.

Design: T-cell response was evaluated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 20 individuals with history of a primary infection by dengue virus 1 or 2. Methods previously shown to induce lymphoproliferation of CD4+ memory T-cell subpopulations were used. We evaluated the proliferative responses generated in those PBMCs after stimulation with dengue virus 1, 2, 3 and 4 antigens in a serotype-specific and serotype-crossreactive way.

Results: Serotype-specific and serotype-crossreactive lymphoproliferative responses in all PBMCs donated by dengue immune donors were observed. The serotype-crossreactive response for dengue 2 was stronger than for the rest of the serotypes.

Conclusions: This is the first report of cellular memory lymphocyte response specific for dengue virus detected 20 years after a primary infection by dengue.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cuba
  • Dengue / immunology*
  • Dengue / virology
  • Dengue Virus / classification
  • Dengue Virus / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Phytohemagglutinins / immunology
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Serotyping


  • Phytohemagglutinins