The salivary glands as a privileged site of cytomegalovirus immune evasion and persistence

Med Microbiol Immunol. 2008 Jun;197(2):205-13. doi: 10.1007/s00430-008-0077-2. Epub 2008 Feb 8.


The salivary glands (SG) provide a haven for persistent cytomegalovirus replication, and in this regard are a privileged site of virus immune evasion. The murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) model has provided insight into the immunological environment of the SG and the unqiue virus-host relationship of this organ. In response to MCMV infection, a robust T cell-mediated immune response is elicited, comprised predominantly of CD8+ T cells that phenotypically and functionally appear activated. However, they fail to clear virus by an unknown evasion mechanism that is independent of inhibitory NKG2A- or Programmed Death 1-mediated signaling. Virus is eventually eliminated from the SG by effector CD4+ T cells expressing antiviral cytokines. However, this mechanism is severely dampened by high levels of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10, selectively expressed by SG CD4+ T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology*
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Muromegalovirus / growth & development*
  • Muromegalovirus / immunology*
  • Salivary Glands / immunology*
  • Salivary Glands / virology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Interleukin-10