Objective: To study the dynamic changes of T lymphocyte subsets in severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patients.
Methods: Sequential anti-coagulated blood samples were collected from 62 seropositive SARS patients during the first week, the second week, the first month, the 2nd-3rd month, and 1 year after disease onset. T-lymphocyte subsets including CD4 + T cells, CD8 + T cells, and naive and memory CD4 + T cells were detected by flow cytometry. Samples from 56 healthy blood donors were also detected as healthy controls.
Results: A rapid restoration in T-lymphocyte subsets was observed during a short period after infection. During the 2-3 months after disease onset, CD8 + T cell count returned to the normal level. At the same time point, CD4 + T cell and naive CD4 + T cell counts increased to (534 +/- 197)/mm3 and (175 +/- 75)/mm3 respectively. Total lymphocytes, T lymphocyte, CD4 + T and naive CD4 + T cell were still significantly lower than the normal levels even one year after disease onset.
Conclusion: The periphery T lymphocyte subsets in SARS infection shows transient decrease and then rapid recovery.