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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common opportunistic infection encountered in renal transplant recipients (RTRs) and may be reactivated without symptoms at any time post-transplant. We describe how active and latent CMV affect T-cell subsets in RTRs who are stable on maintenance therapy. T-cell responses to CMV were assessed in RTRs (n = 54) >2 years post-transplant, and healthy controls (n = 38). Seven RTRs had CMV DNA detectable in plasma. CMV antibody and DNA aligned with increased proportions of CD8+ T cells and reduced CD4/CD8 ratios. This paralleled an expansion of effector memory T-cell (TEM), terminally differentiated T-cell (TEMRA) and CD57+ TEMRA cell populations. Expression of NK-cell receptors, LIR-1 and KLRG1 on CD4+ and CD8+ CD57+ TEM and TEMRA cells correlated with elevated interferon-γ and cytotoxic responses to anti-CD3 and increased cytotoxic responses to CMV phosphoprotein (pp) 65 in RTRs who carried CMV DNA. CD8+ T cells from all CMV seropositive RTRs responded efficiently to CMV immediate early (IE) -1 peptides. The data show that latent and active CMV infection can alter T-cell subsets in RTRs many years after transplantation, and up-regulate T-cell expression of NK-cell receptors. This may enhance effector responses of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells against CMV. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.