Decrease in measles virus-specific CD4 T cell memory in vaccinated subjects

J Infect Dis. 2004 Oct 15;190(8):1387-95. doi: 10.1086/424571. Epub 2004 Sep 8.


Since the licensure and generalization of an effective measles virus (MV) vaccine 41 years ago, antibody levels have been used as correlates of immunity. The long-lived MV-specific antibody response has been studied intensely, but the dynamics of MV-specific T cell immunity over time have not been well characterized. We thus characterized the profiles of MV vaccine-induced antigen-specific T cells over time since vaccination. In a cross-sectional study of healthy subjects with a history of MV vaccination, we found that MV-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells could be detected up to 34 years after vaccination. The levels of MV-specific CD8 T cells and MV-specific IgG remained stable, whereas the level of MV-specific CD4 T cells decreased significantly in subjects who had been vaccinated >21 years earlier. These results show that MV-specific T cell immunity after vaccination is long lasting and reveal different dynamics between CD4 and CD8 cells after vaccination.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Measles / immunology*
  • Measles Vaccine / immunology*
  • Morbillivirus / immunology*
  • Morbillivirus / isolation & purification
  • Vaccination


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Measles Vaccine