Do Cytomegalovirus-Specific Memory T Cells Interfere With New Immune Responses in Lymphoid Tissues?

Geroscience. 2019 Apr;41(2):155-163. doi: 10.1007/s11357-019-00068-0. Epub 2019 May 8.


In both mice and humans, the CD8 T cell compartment is expanded with age in the presence of a cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection due to an absolute increase in the CD8+ T cell effector memory (TEM) cells. It has been hypothesized that in CMV+ subjects, such accumulated TEM cells could interfere with responses to new infection by competing for space/resources or could inhibit new responses by other, undefined, means. Here we present evidence against this hypothesis. We show that MCMV-specific CD8 T cells accumulate in blood and bone marrow, but not lymph nodes (frequent sites of immune response initiation), in either persistent lifelong CMV infection or following reactivation. Moreover, adoptive transfer of effector memory T cells from MCMV positive mice into naïve animals did not interfere with either humoral or cellular response to West Nile virus or Listeria monocytogenes infection in recipient mice. We conclude that MCMV infection is unlikely to inhibit new immune responses in old animals through direct interference of MCMV-specific CD8 T cells with the priming.

Keywords: Cytomegalovirus-specific memory T cells; Lymphoid tissues; West Nile virus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Random Allocation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric