UMMS Affiliation

Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research; Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Department of Medicine

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Immunity | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Immunology of Infectious Disease | Infectious Disease


We previously hypothesized that increased capillary permeability observed in both hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) may be caused by hantavirus-specific cytotoxic T cells attacking endothelial cells presenting viral antigens on their surface based on clinical observations and in vitro experiments. In HCPS, hantavirus-specific T cell responses positively correlated with disease severity. In HFRS, in one report, contrary to HCPS, T cell responses negatively correlated with disease severity, but in another report the number of regulatory T cells, which are thought to suppress T cell responses, negatively correlated with disease severity. In rat experiments, in which hantavirus causes persistent infection, depletion of regulatory T cells helped infected rats clear virus without inducing immunopathology. These seemingly contradictory findings may suggest delicate balance in T cell responses between protection and immunopathogenesis. Both too strong and too weak T cell responses may lead to severe disease. It is important to clarify the role of T cells in these diseases for better treatment (whether to suppress T cell functions) and protection (vaccine design) which may need to take into account viral factors and the influence of HLA on T cell responses.


CD8+ T cell, endothelial cell, hantavirus, hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, immunopathogenesis, regulatory T cell

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© 2011 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

DOI of Published Version



Viruses. 2011 Jul;3(7):1059-73. doi: 10.3390/v3071059. Epub 2011 Jul 6. Link to article on publisher's site

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.