Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-seronegative recipients (R(-)) of a liver transplant from CMV-positive donors (D(+)) are at high risk for developing late CMV disease after discontinuation of antiviral prophylaxis. Levels of viremia and CMV-specific interferon (IFN)- gamma -producing CD4(+) and IFN- gamma -producing CD8(+) T cell responses were prospectively measured from discontinuation of antiviral prophylaxis until 1 year after transplantation in 17 consecutive D(+)/R(-) patients. CMV loads of >1000 copies/mL were strongly associated with CMV disease in the 6 symptomatic patients. Despite immunosuppression, broadly diverse T cells specific for CMV lysate or peptide libraries spanning pp65 and immediate early (IE) 1 immunodominant CMV antigens developed in all patients. A vigorous CD8(+) T cell response to pp65 and IE1 antigens characterized the D(+)/R(-) cohort. Unexpectedly, none of these responses were predictive of CMV disease or viremia. No significant lymphopenia or functional impairment of CMV-specific T cells was detected in the symptomatic patients, whose morbidity was resolved after antiviral treatment while measurable CMV immunity was maintained during the 1-year observation period.