Initial lentivirus-host interactions within lymph nodes: a study of maedi-visna virus infection in sheep

Barbara A. Blacklaws, P Bird, D. Allen, D J Roy, I C MacLennan, John Hopkins, D R Sargan, I. McConnell

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Reactive changes occurring within lymph nodes draining the subcutaneous site of acute infection with maedi-visna virus (MVV) were studied, and the appearance of infected cells correlated with the immune response. Cells infected with virus were detected in the node by cocultivation from day 4 postinfection (p.i.), with maximum numbers being seen between days 7 and 14, but even then infected cells were rare, with a maximum frequency of 23 50% tissue culture infective doses (TCID50) in 10(6) lymph node cells. At later times, infected cells were still detected, but their numbers fell to 1 to 2 TCID50 per 10(6) cells. Virus-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T-cell precursors (CTLp) were isolated from infected nodes from day 10 p.i. onwards, and T-cell proliferative responses to MVV were first detected on day 7 and consistently detected after day 18. Histological analysis showed a vigorous immune response in the node. There was a marked blast reaction in the T-cell-rich zones, which was greatest at the time when the number of virally infected cells was at its height. At this stage, large numbers of plasma cells were seen in the medullary cords, indicating that extensive T-cell-dependent B-cell activation was occurring in the T-cell-rich zones. Germinal centers were prominent shortly after the onset of the T-zone response and were still present at 40 days p.i. Phenotype studies of isolated lymph node cells failed to detect major changes in the proportion or phenotype of macrophages, CD1+ interdigitating cells, and CD4+ or CD8+ T cells despite the fact that CD8+ lymphoblasts form a major population leaving the node in efferent lymph. This suggests that there is a balanced increase in the number of all cell types in response to the virus within the node and selective migration of CD8+ lymphoblasts containing virus-specific CTLp from the node. Virus-specific immune responses are therefore present within the node when infectious virus isolation is maximal, but cellular immunity may act to control the level of infection from day 18 onwards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-7
Number of pages8
JournalJ Virol
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1995


  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral/immunology
  • Antigens, Viral/immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II/metabolism
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lymph Nodes/microbiology
  • Lymph Nodes/pathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Sheep
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology
  • Time Factors
  • Virus Replication
  • Visna/immunology
  • Visna/pathology
  • Visna-maedi virus/immunology
  • Visna-maedi virus/pathogenicity


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