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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 637649, 8 pages
Review Article

Enumeration and Characterization of Human Memory T Cells by Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assays

S. S. Virologia Molecolare, S. C. Microbiologia e Virologia, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Via Taramelli 5, 27100 Pavia, Italy

Received 6 June 2013; Accepted 7 September 2013

Academic Editor: Roslyn Kemp

Copyright © 2013 Sandra A. Calarota and Fausto Baldanti. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay has advanced into a useful and widely applicable tool for the evaluation of T-cell responses in both humans and animal models of diseases and/or vaccine candidates. Using synthetic peptides (either individually or as overlapping peptide mixtures) or whole antigens, total lymphocyte or isolated T-cell subset responses can be assessed either after short-term stimulation (standard ELISPOT) or after their expansion during a 10-day culture (cultured ELISPOT). Both assays detect different antigen-specific immune responses allowing the analysis of effector memory T cells and central memory T cells. This paper describes the principle of ELISPOT assays and discusses their application in the evaluation of immune correlates of clinical interest with a focus on the vaccine field.