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Keywords:

  • CMV;
  • programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor;
  • interleukin (IL)-10;
  • CD137;
  • liver transplant;
  • late cytomegalovirus disease;
  • solid organ transplant

A. Krishnan, W. Zhou, S.F. Lacey, A.P. Limaye, D.J. Diamond, C. La Rosa. Programmed death-1 receptor and interleukin-10 in liver transplant recipients at high risk for late cytomegalovirus disease. Transpl Infect Dis 2010: 12: 363–370. All rights reserved

Abstract: Despite significant advances in antiviral treatment, solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients remain at heightened risk for developing late cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease. Elevated inhibitory immune signaling suggests a state of immune impairment in SOT recipients, who do not control CMV infection and develop severe clinical symptoms after discontinuation of antiviral prophylaxis. We longitudinally monitored the negative immune modulator programmed death (PD)-1 receptor on both CD4 and CD8 T cells, co-expressing the CD137 surface marker of recent activation, in a liver transplant cohort. Liver recipients who progressed to CMV disease expressed elevated levels of PD-1 on CD137+ CD4 and CD8 T cells, following stimulation with either full-length peptide libraries or CMV lysate. This novel approach, applicable to a multitude of human leukocyte antigen types, enhances the usefulness of the PD-1 measurements as a clinical strategy to predict late CMV disease. In parallel, we detected an increased level of the immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin (IL)-10, in plasma of liver recipients diagnosed with CMV disease. CMV-specific T cells were still functional when both PD-1 and IL-10 were upregulated; however they showed a marked proliferation deficit, which may limit their ability to contain viremia and lead to CMV disease. Our preliminary observations support further investigation of dual monitoring of PD-1 and IL-10, as potential immune markers of CMV disease.