CD8+ T lymphocytes control murine cytomegalovirus replication in the central nervous system of newborn animals

Academic Article


  • Human CMV infection of the neonatal CNS results in long-term neurologic sequelae. To define the pathogenesis of fetal human CMV CNS infections, we investigated mechanisms of virus clearance from the CNS of neonatal BALB/c mice infected with murine CMV (MCMV). Virus titers peaked in the CNS between postnatal days 10-14 and infectious virus was undetectable by postnatal day 21. Congruent with virus clearance was the recruitment of CD8+ T cells into the CNS. Depletion of CD8+ T cells resulted in death by postnatal day 15 in MCMV-infected animals and increased viral loads in the liver, spleen, and the CNS, suggesting an important role for these cells in the control of MCMV replication in the newborn brain. Examination of brain mononuclear cells revealed that CD8+ T cell infiltrates expressed high levels of CD69, CD44, and CD49d. IE1168-specific CD8+ T cells accumulated in the CNS and produced IFN-γ and TNF-α but not IL-2 following peptide stimulation. Moreover, adoptive transfer of brain mononuclear cells resulted in decreased virus burden in immunodepleted MCMV-infected syngeneic mice. Depletion of the CD8+ cell population following transfer eliminated control of virus replication. In summary, these results show that functionally mature virus-specific CD8+ T cells are recruited to the CNS in mice infected with MCMV as neonates. Copyright © 2008 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bantug GRB; Cekinovic D; Bradford R; Koontz T; Jonjic S; Britt WJ
  • Start Page

  • 2111
  • End Page

  • 2123
  • Volume

  • 181
  • Issue

  • 3