Maintenance of cytomegalovirus (CMV) latency and host immune responses of long term renal allograft survivors. II. Secondary CMV infections associated with impaired in vitro proliferative responses to mitogens, allogeneic lymphocytes and CMV infected cells

H W Roenhorst, J M Beelen, J M Middeldorp, J Schirm, A M Tegzess, T H The

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The relationship between secondary cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections and host general cellular immunocompetence was investigated in 16 renal allograft recipients with minimal immunosuppressive treatment and excellent renal function. Results were compared with 19 CMV seropositive healthy controls. Significantly impaired immune responses were detected in the subgroup of nine recipients who experience at least 2 years before a secondary CMV infection. Their in vitro lymphocyte reactivity (LR) tests to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA, P = 0.01), pokeweed mitogen (PWM, P less than 0.05), microbial antigens (P less than 0.001) and to pooled allogeneic stimulator lymphocytes in the MLC test (P = 0.02) were lower than the controls. The MLC responses, however, increased with graft survival time (r = 0.8810, P = 0.01). This was positively correlated with the virus specific cellular immunity measurable by the LR responses to CMV infected target cells (r = 0.8333, P = 0.02). In contrast, long term renal allograft survivors who maintained their CMV infection in latency after transplantation (n = 7) showed normal responses to PWM, pooled lymphocytes and CMV infected target cells, whereas the responses to PHA and to bacterial antigens were less severely impaired (P less than 0.05 and P less than 0.001, respectively). This study of long term renal allograft survivors shows that a secondary CMV infection has a long lasting negative effect on immunity especially against alloantigens and CMV infected targets. However, in the data presented here it would be as acceptable to suggest that the patients are consistently relapsing with CMV because they initially had poor immune response and not vice versa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-9
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1985

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