The immunosuppressive effects of three herpesviruses-cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and herpes simplex virus (HSV)-were assessed in 29 renal transplant recipients treated with cyclosporine and prednisone. The ratios of Leu 3-positive ("helper-inducer") to Leu 2-positive ("suppressor-cytotoxic") T lymphocytes in peripheral blood were only moderately and transiently decreased during primary CMV infection, with or without concurrent reactivated EBV and HSV infections. This effect was due to an increase in absolute numbers of Leu 2-phenotypic and decrease in Leu 3-phenotypic T cells and was associated with symptomatic viral illness. Reactivated CMV infection alone or together with reactivated EBV and HSV infections resulted in less significant alterations in T-cell subsets than did primary CMV infection. Lymphocyte blastogenesis was not significantly altered during the herpesvirus infections. The data suggest that cyclosporine treatment inhibits the activation of suppressor cells and depression of cellular immune function that have been associated with herpesvirus infections in renal transplant recipients undergoing conventional immunotherapy. © 1986.
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