Latent cytomegalovirus infection amplifies CD8 T-lymphocyte mobilisation and egress in response to exercise

James Turner, Sarah Aldred, Oliver Witard, Mark Drayson, Paul Moss, Jos Bosch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Exercise induces mobilisation of CD8+ T lymphocytes (CD8TL) into the peripheral blood. This response is largely confined to effector-memory CD8TLs: antigen experienced cells which have a strong tissue-homing and effector potential. This study investigated whether effector-memory cells also account for the CD8TL egress from peripheral blood following exercise. As latent Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is associated with a robust expansion in the number and proportion of effector-memory CD8TLs, we also investigated if CMV serostatus was a determinant of the CD8TL responses to exercise.

Fourteen males (Mean age 35, SD ± 14 yrs), half of whom were CMV seropositive (CMV+), ran on a treadmill for 60 min at 80% V̇Omax. Blood was collected at baseline, during the final minute of exercise, and 15 min and 60 min thereafter. CD8TL memory subsets were characterised by flow cytometry, using the cell-surface markers CD45RA, CD27, and CD28.

The results confirmed that CD8TLs with an effector-memory phenotype (CD27CD28CD45RA+/−) exhibited the largest increase during exercise (+200% to +250%), and also showed the largest egress from blood 60 min post-exercise (down to 40% of baseline values). Strikingly, the mobilisation and subsequent egress of total CD8TLs was nearly twice as large in CMV+ individuals. This effect appeared specific to CD8TLs, and was not seen for CD4+ T lymphocytes or total lymphocytes. This effect of CMV serostatus was largely driven by the higher numbers of exercise-responsive effector-memory CD8TLs in the CMV+ participants.

This is the first study to demonstrate that infection history is a determinant of immune system responses to exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1362-1370
Number of pages9
JournalBrain, Behaviour, and Immunity
Issue number8
Early online date16 Jul 2010
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Cytomegalovirus
  • CD8+ T lymphocytes
  • Memory lymphocytes
  • Lymphocytosis
  • Lymphocytopenia
  • Immune surveillance
  • Migration
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Human


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