De novo generation of CD4 T cells against viruses present in the host during immune reconstitution

Original Articles
Blood 105(6): 2410-4, 2005
Kalina T*, Lu H*, Zhao Z, Blewett E, Dittmer DP, Randolph-Habecker J, Maloney DG, Andrews RG, Kiem HP, and Storek J (*: co-first author)
Description / Abstract: 

T cells recognizing self-peptides are typically deleted in the thymus by negative selection. It is not known whether T cells against persistent viruses (eg, herpesviruses) are generated by the thymus (de novo) after the onset of the infection. Peptides from such viruses might be considered by the thymus as self-peptides, and T cells specific for these peptides might be deleted (negatively selected). Here we demonstrate in baboons infected with baboon cytomegalovirus and baboon lymphocryptovirus (Epstein-Barr virus-like virus) that after autologous transplantation of yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)-marked hematopoietic cells, YFP+ CD4 T cells against these viruses were generated de novo. Thus the thymus generates CD4 T cells against not only pathogens absent from the host but also pathogens present in the host. This finding provides a strong rationale to improve thymopoiesis in recipients of hematopoietic cell transplants and, perhaps, in other persons lacking de novo-generated CD4 T cells, such as AIDS patients and elderly persons.

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