Generation and maintenance of human memory cells during viral infection

Rabih Halwani, Mehrnoosh Doroudchi, Bader Yassine-Diab, Loury Janbazian, Yu Shi, Elias A. Said, Elias K. Haddad, Rafick Pierre Sékaly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Long-term maintenance of memory T cell response is the hallmark of immune protection and hence the holy grail of most vaccine development studies. Persistent memory cells, developed after either viral infection or vaccination, ensure the generation of an antiviral response upon reexposure to the pathogen. During acute viral infections, as in the case of measles and influenza viruses, strong T cell effector functions, which eradicate the virus and protect patients against reexposure, are achieved by the generation of persistent protective memory cells. However, in chronic infections, T cells drastically lose effector functions before acquiring a memory phenotype. Chronic infections can be categorized into infections where viremia is controlled and protective memory cells are maintained as in the case of EBV and CMV infections, or where the virus persists and memory cells are exhausted and disrupted as in the case of human immunodeficiency virus infection. In this review, we will discuss the different phenotypical and functional characteristics of memory cells subsets, the importance of the role they play during acute and chronic infections, and the mechanisms behind their effectiveness and persistence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-208
Number of pages12
JournalSpringer Seminars in Immunopathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • Acute viral infection
  • Central memory T cells
  • Chronic viral infections
  • Effector memory T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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