CD4 and CD8 T cells are an important part of the host’s capacity to defend itself against viral infections. During flavivirus
infections, T cells have been implicated in both protective and pathogenic responses. Given the recent emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) as a prominent global health threat, the question remains as to how T cells contribute to anti-ZIKV immunity. Furthermore, high homology between ZIKV and other, co-circulating flaviviruses
opens the possibility of positive or negative effects of cross-reactivity due to pre-existing immunity. In this review, we will discuss the CD4 and CD8 T cell responses to ZIKV, and the lessons we have learned from both mouse and human infections. In addition, we will consider the possibility of whether T cells, in the context of flavivirus
-naïve and flavivirus
-immune subjects, play a role in promoting ZIKV pathogenesis during infection.
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