Memory T cells constitute a subset of the human CD8+CD45RA+ pool with distinct phenotypic and migratory characteristics. Academic Article uri icon


  • Using HLA class I-viral epitope tetramers to monitor herpes virus-specific CD8(+) T cell responses in humans, we have shown that a significant fraction of responding cells revert from a CD45RO(+) to a CD45RA(+) state after priming. All tetramer-binding CD45RA(+) cells, regardless of epitope specificity, expressed a phenotype LFA-1(high)CCR7(low) that was stable for at least 10 years in infectious mononucleosis patients and indefinitely in asymptomatic carriers. CD8(+)CD45RA(+)LFA-1(high) cells were not present in cord blood but in adults account for up to 50% of CD8(+)CD45RA(+) cells. These CD45RA(+)LFA-1(high) cells have significantly shorter telomeres than CD45RA(+)LFA-1(low) cells, suggesting that the latter represent a naive population, while the former are memory cells. CD45RA(+) memory cells are a stable population of noncycling cells, but on stimulation they are potent producers of IFN-gamma, while naive CD8(+) cells produce only IL-2. The chemokine receptor profile and migratory potential of CD45RA(+) memory cells is very similar to CD45RO(+) cells but different to naive CD8 cells. In accord with this, CD45RA(+) memory cells were significantly underrepresented in lymph nodes, but account for virtually all CD8(+)CD45RA(+) T cells in peripheral tissues of the same individuals.

published proceedings

  • J Immunol

altmetric score

  • 7.45

author list (cited authors)

  • Faint, J. M., Annels, N. E., Curnow, S. J., Shields, P., Pilling, D., Hislop, A. D., ... Salmon, M.

citation count

  • 141

complete list of authors

  • Faint, JM||Annels, NE||Curnow, SJ||Shields, P||Pilling, D||Hislop, AD||Wu, L||Akbar, AN||Buckley, CD||Moss, PA||Adams, DH||Rickinson, AB||Salmon, M

publication date

  • July 2001