Factors controlling the turnover of T memory cells

Immunol Rev. 1997 Apr;156:79-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065x.1997.tb00960.x.


Most of the T cells participating in the primary immune response are rapidly eliminated, but small numbers of these cells survive and differentiate into long-lived memory cells. Information on the life history of memory cells can be obtained by studying the component of memory-phenotype T cells found in normal animals; these cells are presumed to represent memory cells specific for various environmental antigens. For CD8+ cells, in vivo exposure to viruses and certain other infectious agents causes a large proportion of memory-phenotype (CD44hi) cells to enter the cell cycle. In this situation, stimulation of CD44hi CD8+ cells does not seem to require T-cell receptor ligation and appears to reflect release of various cytokines, especially type I interferon. The capacity of infectious agents to induce non-antigen-specific stimulation of T cells may play a role in boosting the survival of memory cells and perhaps also in providing an adjuvant function during the primary response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell