IL7Ra versus CCR7 and CD45 as markers of virus specific CD8+ T cell differentiation: Contrasting pictures in blood and tonsillar lymphoid tissue

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In humans, circulating CD8(+) memory T cells to a nonpersistent virus (influenza) lie within CCR7(+)CD45RA(-) central memory, whereas memory to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent, EBV lytic, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigens are progressively larger in size and are more biased toward CCR7(-)CD45RA(-) effector memory and CCR7(-)CD45RA(+) terminally differentiated compartments. We found that these populations are also distinguished by progressively lower expression of the interleukin-7 receptor (IL-7R alpha) and by lower IL-7 responsiveness; indeed, percentage IL-7R alpha -positive values showed a tight inverse correlation with population size. However, these relationships among size, differentiation phenotype, and IL-7R alpha status in blood did not hold in tonsillar tissue. In tonsil tissue, although EBV reactivities outnumbered their CMV and influenza counterparts, the distinct CCR7/CD45 isoform signatures of the different virus-specific populations were retained. Moreover, all detectable reactivities showed high levels of IL-7R alpha expression. As a discriminator between different virus-specific populations, IL-7R alpha therefore appears to be more susceptible to tissue location than the classical CCR7/CD45 markers.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-278
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2007