Frequency and phenotype of JC virus-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of patients with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy

Marco A. Lima, Angela Marzocchetti, Patrick Autissier, Troy Tompkins, Yiping Chen, Jennifer Gordon, David B. Clifford, Rajesh T. Gandhi, Nagagopal Venna, Joseph R. Berger, Igor J. Koralnik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


JC virus (JCV)-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are associated with a favorable outcome in patients with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and cross-recognize the polyomavirus BK virus (BKV). We sought to determine the frequency and phenotype in fresh blood of CD8 + T cells specific for two A*0201-restricted JCV epitopes, VP1p36 and VP1p100, and assess their impact on JC and BK viremia and viruria in 15 healthy subjects, eight human immunodeficiency virus-positive (HIV+) individuals, and nine HIV+ patients with PML (HIV+ PML patients) classified as survivors. After magnetic preenrichment of CD8+ T cells, epitope-specific cells ranged from 0.001% to 0.22% by tetramer staining, with no significant difference among the three study groups. By use of seven-color flow cytometry, there was no predominant differentiation phenotype subset among JCV-specific CD8+ T cells in healthy individuals, HIV+ subjects, or HIV+ PML patients. However, in one HIV+ PML patient studied in the acute phase, there was a majority of activated effector memory cells. BKV DNA was undetectable in all blood samples by quantitative PCR, while a low JC viral load was found in the blood of only one HIV+ and two HIV+ PML patients. JCV and BKV DNA were detected in 33.3% and 13.3% of all urine samples, respectively, independent of the presence of JCV-specific CTL. The detection of JCV DNA in the urine was associated with the presence of a JCV VP1 p100 CTL response. Immunotherapies aiming at increasing the cellular immune response against JCV may be valuable in the treatment of HIV+ individuals with PML.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3361-3368
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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