Effacing of the T cell compartment by cardiac transplantation in infancy

Brenda M. Ogle, Lori J. West, David J. Driscoll, Scott E. Strome, Raymund R. Razonable, Carlos V. Paya, Marilia Cascalho, Jeffrey L. Platt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


For cardiac transplantation in infants, T cells are depleted and the thymus is removed. These manipulations should cause profound defects in the T cell compartment. To test this concept, 20 subjects who underwent cardiac transplantation in infancy and healthy age-matched subjects were studied. The number of T cells in the blood was nearly normal in all subjects 1-10 years after surgery. However, newly generated T cells were undetectable in 10 recipients and 10-fold less than controls in 10, suggesting absence of thymic function. TCRβ chain diversity, measured by a novel technique, was ∼100-fold lower than controls. T cell function, deduced from levels of human herpesvirus 7 and response to hepatitis B immunization, were notably impaired. Yet cardiac transplant recipients were generally free of opportunistic infections. Our findings demonstrate a novel approach to measuring lymphocyte diversity and suggest that understanding how these subjects resist infection could yield important insights into immune fitness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1962-1967
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


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