The PD-1/PD-L1 (B7-H1) pathway in chronic infection-induced cytotoxic T lymphocyte exhaustion

Kimberly A. Hofmeyer, Hyungjun Jeon, Xingxing Zang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Cytotoxic CD8 T lymphocytes (CTLs) play a pivotal role in the control of infection. Activated CTLs, however, often lose effector function during chronic infection. PD-1 receptor and its ligand PD-L1 of the B7/CD28 family function as a T cell coinhibitory pathway and are emerging as major regulators converting effector CTLs into exhausted CTLs during chronic infection with human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and other pathogens capable of establishing chronic infections. Importantly, blockade of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway is able to restore functional capabilities to exhausted CTLs and early clinical trials have shown promise. Further research will reveal how chronic infection induces upregulation of PD-1 on CTLs and PD-L1 on antigen-presenting cells and other tissue cells and how the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction promotes CTLs exhaustion, which is crucial for developing effective prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination against chronic infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number451694
JournalJournal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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