Memory T-cell-specific therapeutics in organ transplantation

Andrew J. Page, Mandy L. Ford, Allan D. Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: This review details the role of memory T cells in physiologic and allospecific immunity, and summarizes the effects of immunosuppressive agents used to manipulate their function in the context of organ transplantation. Recent findings: Memory T cells are lymphocytes with characteristics that are thought to promote anamnestic immune responses. They have a unique capacity to generate rapid effector functions upon secondary exposure to a pathogen, and this capacity is achieved through truncated requirements for antigen presentation, reduced activation thresholds, and enhanced trafficking and adhesion mechanisms. In general, these same mechanisms also appear to evoke improved efficiency in mediating allograft rejection. The phenotype of these cells has been increasingly well defined and associated with a characteristic pattern of susceptibility to immunosuppressive agents. This knowledge is now being exploited in the development of immune therapeutic regimens to selectively mollify T memory cell effects. Summary: A specific targeting of memory T cells has potential to prevent allograft rejection in a more precise manner than current means of immunosuppression. However, these benefits will be balanced by the reciprocal risk of susceptibility to recurrent infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-649
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Organ Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Allograft
  • Heterologous immunity
  • Homeostatic proliferation
  • Memory T cell
  • Tolerance


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