Rapid reconstitution of Epstein-Barr virus-specific T lymphocytes following allogeneic stem cell transplantation

N. A. Marshall, J. G. Howe, R. Formica, D. Krause, J. E. Wagner, N. Berliner, J. Crouch, I. Pilip, D. Cooper, B. R. Blazar, S. Seropian, E. G. Pamer

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60 Scopus citations


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific CD8 T lymphocytes are present at remarkably high frequencies in healthy EBV+ individuals and provide protection from EBV-associated lymphoproliferative diseases. Allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (allo-PBSCT) is a commonly used therapy in which T-cell surveillance for EBV is temporarily disrupted. Herein, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I tetramers were used to investigate the reestablishment of the EBV-specific CD8 T-cell repertoire in patients following allo-PBSCT. CD8+ T cells specific for lytic and latent cycle-derived EBV peptides rapidly repopulate the periphery of matched sibling allo-PBSCT patients. The relative frequencies of T cells specific for different EBV peptides in transplantation recipients closely reflect those of their respective donors. Investigation of patients at monthly intervals following unmanipulated allo-PBSCT demonstrated that the frequency of EBV-specific T cells correlates with the number of EBV genome copies in the peripheral blood and that expansion of EBV-specific T-cell populations occurs even in the setting of immunosuppressive therapy. In contrast, patients undergoing T-cell-depleted or unrelated cord blood transplantation have undetectable EBV-specific T cells, even in the presence of Epstein-Barr viremia. The protective shield provided by EBV-specific CD8 T cells is rapidly established following unmanipulated matched sibling allo-PBSCT and demonstrates that HLA class I tetramers complexed with viral peptides can provide direct and rapid assessment of pathogen-specific immunity in this and other vulnerable patient populations. (C) 2000 by The American Society of Hematology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2814-2821
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2000

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