The outcome of host-virus interactions is determined by a number of factors, some related to the virus, others to the host, such as environmental factors and genetic factors. Therefore, different individuals vary in their relative susceptibility to infections. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is an important pathogen from a clinical point of view, as it causes significant morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed or immunosenescent individuals, such as the transplanted patients and the elderly, respectively. It is, therefore, important to understand the mechanisms of virus infection control. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the immunobiology of HCMV-host interactions, with particular emphasis on the immunogenetic aspects (human leukocyte antigens, HLA; killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors, KIRs; immunoglobulin genetic markers, GM allotypes) to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the complex host-virus interaction that determine various outcomes of HCMV infection. The results, which show the role of humoral and cellular immunity in the control of infection by HCMV, would be valuable in directing efforts to reduce HCMV spurred health complications in the transplanted patients and in the elderly, including immunosenescence. In addition, concerning GM allotypes, it is intriguing that, in a Southern Italian population, alleles associated with the risk of developing HCMV symptomatic infection are negatively associated with longevity.
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry