Human cytomegalovirus-specific immunity following haemopoietic stem cell transplantation

Blood Rev. 2003 Dec;17(4):259-64. doi: 10.1016/s0268-960x(03)00028-6.


The herpesvirus Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is an important opportunistic infection in recipients of allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplants, in whom HCMV-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell responses are impaired. The nature of the HCMV-specific T-cell response in healthy virus carriers has been characterised in detail. High frequencies of circulating CD8+ T-cells that recognise defined viral peptides are maintained for years, and include individual CD8+ clones that have undergone extensive clonal expansion and phenotypic diversification in vivo. Following stem cell transplantation, the kinetics of HCMV-specific CD8+ T-cell reconstitution in the recipient are related to the presence or absence of antigen-experienced CD8+ T-cells transferred via the allograft, and to the presence of the virus in the recipient. We discuss recent progress in our understanding of HCMV-specific immunity in healthy virus carriers and in recipients after alloSCT.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus / physiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / therapy
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • Opportunistic Infections / therapy
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Virus Activation / immunology