CMV-specific central memory T cells reside in bone marrow

Eur J Immunol. 2007 Nov;37(11):3063-8. doi: 10.1002/eji.200636930.


CMV-specific CD8(+) T cell responses in peripheral blood (PB) are characterized by a preponderance of effector and effector memory T cells. CMV-specific central memory T cells (T(CM)), which are considered crucial in maintaining long-term immunity, are rarely detectable in PB. In this study we have analyzed differentiation and function of CMV pp65-specific CD8(+) T cells in paired samples of human PB and BM using intracellular cytokine and tetramer staining. Overall frequencies of CMV pp65-specific T cells were similar in PB compared to BM; however, CMV-specific CD45RA(-)CCR7(+) T(CM) were almost exclusively detectable in BM, which was not related to a general accumulation of T(CM) in BM. In vitro, CMV-specific T cells could be more efficiently expanded from BM (median 128-fold, n=6) than from PB (median 72-fold, p=0.01). Taken together, these data show that the BM is a compartment harboring CMV-specific T(CM) and underline the concept of the BM as a secondary immune organ. CMV specific BM-derived T(CM) might be a valuable source for generating T cells for adoptive transfer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphoproteins / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / immunology


  • Phosphoproteins
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • cytomegalovirus matrix protein 65kDa