Role of Cytomegalovirus in Driving Cytotoxic CD28null T Cells

  • Alejandra Pera
  • Aalia Bano
  • Florian KernEmail author
Living reference work entry


Accumulation of CD28null T cells has been traditionally considered a sign of aging, as the percentage of these cells is increased in the elderly. However, the permanent loss of CD28 on T cells is caused by chronic antigenic stimulation. In that sense, CMV infection seems to be an important factor, particularly in the CD4 T-cell compartment, where significant expansions of these cells have been observed in CMV-seropositive individuals only and independently of age. In contrast to this, the CD28null CD8 T-cell subset is more heterogeneous, consisting of different type of cells with diverse origins, phenotype, and functions. Indeed, contrarily to their CD4 counterparts, CD28null CD8 T cells can be found expanded in the absence of CMV. CD28null CD4 T cells are cytotoxic and produce high amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Expansions of these cells has been shown to be associated with many diseases and seems to have a relevant role in CVD (cardiovascular diseases). We, therefore, propose that CMV-related CVD risk may be mediated in part by CD28null CD4 T-cells, capable of damaging the vasculature.


CD28null T cells CD57 CMV infection Age Cardiovascular disease 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology DepartmentMaimonides Biomedicine Institute of Cordoba (IMIBIC), Reina Sofia Hospital, University of CordobaCordobaSpain
  2. 2.Division of MedicineBrighton and Sussex Medical SchoolBrightonUK

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