CD8(+) T cell responses in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and peripheral blood mononuclear cells of infants with severe primary respiratory syncytial virus infections

Jojanneke Heidema, Michaël V. Lukens, Wendy W. C. van Maren, Mariska E. A. van Dijk, Henny G. Otten, Adrianus J. van Vught, Desiree B. M. van der Werff, Sjef J. P. van Gestel, Malcolm G. Semple, Rosalind L. Smyth, Jan L. L. Kimpen, Grada M. van Bleek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


A protective role for CD8(+) T cells during viral infections is generally accepted, but little is known about how CD8(+) T cell responses develop during primary infections in infants, their efficacy, and how memory is established after viral clearance. We studied CD8(+) T cell responses in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples and blood of infants with a severe primary respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. RSV-specific CD8(+) T cells with an activated effector cell phenotype: CD27(+)CD28(+)CD45RO(+)CCR7(-)CD38(+)HLA-DR(+)Granzyme B(+)CD127(-) could be identified in BAL and blood. A high proportion of these CD8(+) T cells proliferated and functionally responded upon in vitro stimulation with RSV Ag. Thus, despite the very young age of the patients, a robust systemic virus-specific CD8(+) T cell response was elicited against a localized respiratory infection. RSV-specific T cell numbers as well as the total number of activated effector type CD8(+) T cells peaked in blood around day 9-12 after the onset of primary symptoms, i.e., at the time of recovery. The lack of a correlation between RSV-specific T cell numbers and parameters of disease severity make a prominent role in immune pathology unlikely, in contrast the T cells might be involved in the recovery process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8410-8417
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15-Dec-2007
Externally publishedYes


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