Acyclovir therapy reduces the CD4+ T cell response against the immunodominant pp65 protein from cytomegalovirus in immune competent individuals

Annette Pachnio, Jusnara Begum, Ashini Fox, Paul Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
162 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infects the majority of the global population and leads to the development of a strong virus-specific immune response. The CMV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell immune response can comprise between 10 and 50% of the T cell pool within peripheral blood and there is concern that this may impair immunity to other pathogens. Elderly individuals with the highest magnitude of CMV-specific immune response have been demonstrated to be at increased risk of mortality and there is increasing interest in interventions that may serve to moderate this. Acyclovir is an anti-viral drug with activity against a range of herpes viruses and is used as long term treatment to suppress reactivation of herpes simplex virus. We studied the immune response to CMV in patients who were taking acyclovir to assess if therapy could be used to suppress the CMV-specific immune response. The T cell reactivity against the immunodominant late viral protein pp65 was reduced by 53% in people who were taking acyclovir. This effect was seen within one year of therapy and was observed primarily within the CD4+ response. Acyclovir treatment only modestly influenced the immune response to the IE-1 target protein. These data show that low dose acyclovir treatment has the potential to modulate components of the T cell response to CMV antigen proteins and indicate that anti-viral drugs should be further investigated as a means to reduce the magnitude of CMV-specific immune response and potentially improve overall immune function.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0125287
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • T cells
  • Immune response
  • Cytotoxic T cells
  • Antiviral therapy
  • Human cytomegalovirus
  • Cell staining
  • Drug therapy
  • Immune suppression

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