Multi-color flow cytometric analysis on human CD8(+) T cell subsets revealed that CXCR4 is predominantly expressed on CD8(+) T cells with the naive CD27(+)CD28(+)CD45RA(+) phenotype, and is down-regulated during differentiation into those with an effector phenotype. The down-regulation of CXCR4 expression during peripheral differentiation was supported by the fact that the expression of CXCR4 on CD8(+) T cells was negatively correlated with that of perforin. The analysis of CCR5, CCR7, and CXCR4 co-expression further showed that CD8(+) T cells expressing a high level of CXCR4 are CCR7(+)CCR5(-) naive or central memory subsets, and those expressing a low level of CXCR4 were included in the CCR7(-)CCR5(+/-) memory/effector and effector subsets. Epstein Barr virus-specific CD8(+) T cells, which mostly express the memory phenotype, expressed CXCR4, while human cytomegalovirus-specific CD8(+) T cells, which mostly express the effector phenotype, partially expressed this receptor, showing that the expression of CXCR4 is also down-regulated during differentiation of viral antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells. The classification of human CD8(+) T cells based on the expression of these chemokine receptors should prove useful for studies that clarify the differentiation of human CD8(+) T cells.