Preemptive therapy for systemic and pulmonary human cytomegalovirus infection in lung transplant recipients

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The incidence and treatment of both systemic and pulmonary human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection as well as HCMV-specific T-cell immune responses were investigated in 57 consecutive lung transplant recipients (LTR) by using as cutoffs for preemptive therapy: 300 000 DNA copies/mL whole blood for systemic infections and 100 000 DNA copies/mL bronchoalveolar lavage fluid for lung infections. Results showed that out of 29/57 LTR (50.9%) needing preemptive antiviral therapy, 15 (51.7%) reached the blood cutoff, 8 (27.6%) the pulmonary cutoff and 6 (20.7%) both the blood and the lung cutoff (3 simultaneously and 3 subsequently). Recovery of HCMV-specific T-cell immune responses was achieved much earlier for CD8+ than CD4+ T cells. However, protection from HCMV reactivation was conferred by the presence of both arms of the T-cell response. In two LTR reaching the pulmonary cutoff and not preemptively treated, a full HCMV-specific CD4+ and CD8 + T-cell response was associated with resolution of lung infection. Antirejection steroid therapy suppressed T-cell immune responses, thus facilitating HCMV reactivation. In conclusion, in LTR, monitoring HCMV infection in both blood and lungs, may improve preemptive therapy efficacy. In addition, monitoring the HCMV-specific T-cell immune response appears useful for predicting control of HCMV infection in the posttransplant period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1142-1150
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • BAL
  • HCMV
  • Lung transplant
  • Preemptive therapy
  • T-cell reconstitution
  • Viral load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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