EBV-specific memory CD8+ T cell phenotype and function in stable solid organ transplant patients

Camila Macedo, Albert Donnenberg, Iulia Popescu, Jorge Reyes, Kareem Abu-Elmagd, Ron Shapiro, Adriana Zeevi, John J. Fung, Walter J. Storkus, Diana Metes

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28 Scopus citations


Immune responses to EBV in immunosuppressed (IS) solid organ transplant (SOTx) recipients have not been well characterized. Here we evaluate the phenotype and function of EBV-specific CD8+ T cells in peripheral blood isolated from "stable" IS SOTx recipients. The EBV-specific CD8+ T cell memory subset distribution in the peripheral blood of patients was examined by flow cytometric analysis using HLA-A2 tetramers incorporating BMLF1 (lytic), and LMP2 and EBNA3A (latent)-derived peptides, in conjunction with mAbs against the CD45RO, CD45RA, and CD62L markers. The ability of CD8+ T cells to produce IFN-γ in response to the same EBV-derived peptides was measured by ELISPOT assay. Patients and healthy normal donors exhibited similar anti-EBV CD8+ T cell frequencies and specificities against the EBV epitopes evaluated. When compared to healthy normal donors, an overall significant expansion of the CD8+ T cell "effector memory" (CD45RO+/CD62L-) pool, including that of EBV "latent" (LMP2 and EBNA3A)-specific CD8 + T cells was detected in IS SOTx patients. However, the patients' EBV-specific CD8+ T cells showed decreased IFN-γ production to the EBV-peptide stimulation. These results indicate that the impairment of EBV-specific CD8+ T cell activity is not due to clonal depletion, but is mainly due to impaired functional activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalTransplant Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • EBV
  • IFN-γ
  • Memory CD8 T cells
  • Solid organ transplantation


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