We investigated the representation of T cells in patients who had been treated for Hodgkin's disease (HD). We found a marked depletion in both CD4 and CD8 naive T-cell counts that persists up to 30 years after completion of treatment. In contrast, CD4 and CD8 memory T-cell subsets recovered to normal or above normal levels by 5 years posttreatment. Thus, the previously-reported long-term deficit in total CD4 T-cell counts after treatment for HD is due to specific depletion of naive T cells. Similarly, total CD8 T-cell counts return to normal by 5 years only because CD8 memory T cells expand to higher than normal levels. These findings suggest that the treatment (mediastinal irradiation) results in a longterm dysregulation of T-cell subset homeostasis. The profound depletion of naive T cells may explain the altered T-cell function in treated patients, including the poor response to immunization after treatment for HD. Further, in some individuals, we identified expansions of unusual subsets expressing low levels of CD8. Eight-color fluorescence-activated cell sorting analyses showed that these cells largely express CD8alphaalpha homodimers and CD57, consistent with the phenotype of potentially extrathymically derived T cells. In addition, these cells, both CD4+ and CD4-, are probably cytotoxic lymphocytes, as they express high levels of intracellular perforin. In adults treated for HD, an increased activity of extrathymic T-cell differentiation may partially compensate for the loss of thymic-derived T cells.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997YD10800043
View details for PubMedID 9345051