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Specific cell-mediated immunity and infections with herpes viruses in cardiac transplant recipients

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      Abstract

      Immune responses and infections with herpes viruses were studied prospectively in 36 cardiac transplant reclpients. Specific lymphocyte transformation and interferon production in response to viral antigens, viral culture results, antibody levels, responses to phytohemagglutinin, and T-cell numbers were determined. Responses to phytohemagglutinin and T-cell numbers were depressed for six to 12 weeks. Cytomegalovirus infection occurred in 100 percent of seropositive patients and in 62 percent of seronegative patients. Primary infection was more frequently symptomatic. Heart implantation from a seropositive patient was significantly correlated with subsequent infection in seronegative patients. Depression of transformation in response to cytomegalovirus correlated with prolonged shedding. Herpes simplex infection occurred in 95 percent of seropositive patients but decreased after 12 weeks. Asymptomatic shedding was rare, and primary infection did not occur. Return of transformation in response to herpes simplex was associated with decreased Infection. Herpes zoster occurred in 22 percent during the first year, and transformation responses to varicella-zoster returned thereafter. Depression of interferon production in response to viruses did not correlate with infection as well as did lymphocyte transformation.
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