CD4 memory T cells: what are they and what can they do?

Semin Immunol. 2009 Apr;21(2):53-61. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2009.02.006. Epub 2009 Mar 9.


Immunological memory provides the basis for successful vaccines. It is important to understand the properties of memory cells. There is much known about the phenotype and functions of memory CD8 T cells, less about memory B cells, while CD4 memory T cells have proved difficult to study. Differences in the types of memory CD4 cells studied and the difficulties of tracking the small number of cells have led to conflicting and unclear results. Here we discuss the different systems used to study CD4 memory cells and ask whether, and in what circumstances, memory CD4 cells could provide protection against infections.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Cell Communication
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Epitopes
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Class Switching / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Infection Control
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Infections / therapy
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / pathology
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Epitopes
  • Vaccines