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Science translational medicine

Virus-specific T lymphocytes home to the skin during natural dengue infection.


PMID 25761891

Abstract

Dengue, which is the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral disease afflicting human populations, causes a spectrum of clinical symptoms that include fever, muscle and joint pain, maculopapular skin rash, and hemorrhagic manifestations. Patients infected with dengue develop a broad antigen-specific T lymphocyte response, but the phenotype and functional properties of these cells are only partially understood. We show that natural infection induces dengue-specific CD8(+) T lymphocytes that are highly activated and proliferating, exhibit antiviral effector functions, and express CXCR3, CCR5, and the skin-homing marker cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen (CLA). In the same patients, bystander human cytomegalovirus -specific CD8(+) T cells are also activated during acute dengue infection but do not express the same tissue-homing phenotype. We show that CLA expression by circulating dengue-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells correlates with their in vivo ability to traffic to the skin during dengue infection. The juxtaposition of dengue-specific T cells with virus-permissive cell types at sites of possible dengue exposure represents a previously uncharacterized form of immune surveillance for this virus. These findings suggest that vaccination strategies may need to induce dengue-specific T cells with similar homing properties to provide durable protection against dengue viruses.