Effector CD8 T cell development: a balancing act between memory cell potential and terminal differentiation

J Immunol. 2008 Feb 1;180(3):1309-15. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.180.3.1309.


Immune responses to infection are optimally designed to generate large numbers of effector T cells while simultaneously minimizing the collateral damage of their potentially lethal actions and generating memory T cells to protect against subsequent encounter with pathogens. Much remains to be discovered about how these equally essential processes are balanced to enhance health and longevity and, more specifically, what factors control effector T cell expansion, differentiation, and memory cell formation. The innate immune system plays a prominent role in the delicate balance of these decisions. Insights into these questions from recent work in the area of effector CD8 T cell differentiation will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation*


  • Cytokines