Cytomegalovirus-seropositivity has a profound influence on the magnitude of major lymphoid subsets within healthy individuals

Clin Exp Immunol. 2009 Mar;155(3):423-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03785.x.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infects most individuals and elicits a strong CMV-specific immune response. We have studied the influence of CMV-seropositivity on the size of lymphoid subsets in healthy donors and demonstrate that the virus substantially modulates the peripheral lymphoid pool. CD8(+) T cell numbers are increased in all CMV-seropositive individuals because of a striking 60% increment in the CD8(+) T cell memory pool. The CD45RA(+) resting memory pool is doubled after CMV infection and increases further with age. The magnitude of the naïve CD8(+) T cell pool is dramatically reduced in CMV-seropositive individuals at all ages, and this accelerates the physiological decline by approximately 40 years. The number of CD4(+) effector memory T cells is increased in CMV-seropositive individuals and is differentially accommodated by a reduction in the number of naïve and central memory CD4(+) T cells in young and elderly donors respectively. CMV-seropositivity also increases the total number of B cells in older donors and suppresses the number of CD5(+) B cells. These data reveal that CMV has a profound influence on the immune system of all healthy individuals and add to growing concern regarding the clinical and immunomodulatory significance of CMV infection in healthy donors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Antigens, CD19 / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Blood Donors*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD5 Antigens / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Virus Activation / immunology
  • Virus Latency / immunology
  • Young Adult


  • Antigens, CD19
  • Biomarkers
  • CD5 Antigens
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens