Cytomegalovirus (CMV) causes significant morbidity and mortality in patients after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Due to limitations of current antiviral therapies, alternative approaches, involving transfer of donor-derived CMV-specific CD8(+) T cells, have been considered. Levels of such cells correlating with protection against CMV infection and disease have only been reported in patients expressing HLA-A*0201 and HLA-B*0702. This is despite an increasing number of reports describing cells targeting CMV peptides presented by other human leucocyte antigens (HLAs). Considering several frequent HLA alleles, our findings suggest that HLA-A*2402/pp65 (341-349)- and HLA-B*3501/pp65 (123-131)-specific CD8(+) T cells correlate with protection from CMV reactivation at significantly lower cell levels than HLA-A*0101/pp50 (245-253)- and HLA-A*0201/pp65 (495-503)-specific CD8(+) T cells, both in HSCT recipients post-transplant and in healthy CMV seropositive volunteers. This may result from a differing efficiency of the responses restricted by the two sets of HLA alleles. These findings add to the knowledge of immunodominance and differences in antigen processing that are coordinated in individuals with different HLA alleles and have direct implications for therapy and monitoring in patients.
- haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT)
- cellular therapies
- T cells