Measles continues to be an important cause of childhood mortality in developing countries. Measles virus (MV) is lymphotropic and infects high percentages of B- and T-lymphocytes in lymphoid tissues. Cellular immunity is considered crucial for viral clearance; however, MV-specific T-lymphocytes generated during primary infection also constitute a potential target for MV infection.We therefore aimed to identify T-lymphocyte subsets that can clear MV infection without becoming infected. To this end, we infected human EBV transformed B-lymphoblastic cell lines (B-LCL) with a recombinant MV strain expressing enhanced GFP, and co-cultured these with non-infected B-LCL resulting in rapid viral spread. MV-specific CD8+T-cell clones efficiently suppressed MV dissemination in autologous and HLA-matched, but not in HLA-mismatched B-LCL. In contrast, CD4+T-cell clones could not control MV dissemination but became a target for MV infection themselves. Furthermore, PBMC collected 6-9 months after acute measles and stimulated with autologous MV-infected B-LCL also efficiently suppressed MV dissemination; this was mediated by the fraction containing CD8+T-lymphocytes. In conclusion, we have developed a powerful tool to study cellular immunity against measles, and demonstrate that control of MV dissemination is mediated by virus-specific CD81 rather than by CD4+T-lymphocytes.

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Keywords Clearance, Measles virus, Suppression, T-lymphocytes
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de Vries, R.D, Yüksel, S, Osterhaus, A.D.M.E, & de Swart, R.L. (2010). Specific CD8+ T-lymphocytes control dissemination of measles virus. European Journal of Immunology, 40(2), 388–395. doi:10.1002/eji.200939949