Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) specific cytotoxicity was investigated during acute primary VZV infection, in naturally immune subjects and after vaccination with the live attenuated varicella vaccine by using T cell cultures (TCC) generated by stimulating PBMC with VZV Ag and autologous VZV-superinfected lymphoblastoid cell lines as targets. Lysis of VZV-infected lymphoblastoid cell lines was observed by TCC from acutely infected subjects, naturally immune subjects, and recipients of the varicella vaccine. VZV glycoprotein I induced cytotoxic T cells but killing was less efficient than killing by TCC stimulated with VZV Ag. The TCC were primarily CD4+ (mean 86.6%) T lymphocytes with 15.2% of the cells coexpressing Leu-19. TCC were predominantly restricted by HLA class II as demonstrated by lack of any blocking using class I mAb and blocking of 15 to 71% by L243, a mAb to class II. Unrestricted killing as measured by killing of K562 cells occurred in all TCC but was minimally greater than that observed against uninfected autologous targets. Phenotypes of PBMC during acute infection had an initial increase in CD4+ cells and an overall decrease in the percentage of circulating Leu-11+ (CD16). No enhanced K562 killing was demonstrated in PBMC from subjects with acute infection compared to subjects without infection. CD4+ CTL may function as an important primary host response in acute varicella. Immunization with live attenuated varicella vaccine induced VZV-specific, memory CTL responses comparable to those of naturally immune subjects. The demonstration of their persistence long after primary VZV infection may indicate a role for CTL in restriction of viral replication during episodes of VZV reactivation from latency.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989R647800039
View details for PubMedID 2536059