Pathogenesis of murine gammaherpesvirus infection in mice deficient in CD4 and CD8 T cells

S Ehtisham, N P Sunil-Chandra, Anthony Nash

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Murine gammaherpesvirus is a natural pathogen of wild mice. The virus infects alveolar cells and spleen cells during the primary infection and establishes a latent/persistent infection in B lymphocytes. Little is known about the immunological response to gammaherpesviruses during a primary infection. To address this issue, we investigated the pathogenesis of murine herpesvirus 68 (MHV-68) infection in mice deficient in CD4 or CD8 T-cell populations. Infection of the lung and spleen were greatly exacerbated in CD8-deficient mice, reflected by elevated virus titers in the lung and an increase in the number of infected splenocytes located around germinal centers. This finding contrasts with clearance of virus from the lung and spleen by day 12 postinfection in CD4-depleted animals. These data clearly indicate a major role for CD8 T cells in recovery from an acute MHV-68 infection. Whereas CD4 T cells fail to influence the course of infection in the lung, they do contribute to lymphoproliferation seen in the spleen (splenomegaly) during the primary infection. The significance of these results are discussed in relation to the immune response to other herpesviruses, in particular Epstein-Barr virus, with which MHV-68 shares similar molecular and biological properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5247–5252
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1993


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