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Nucleocapsid or spike protein-specific CD4+ T lymphocytes protect against coronavirus-induced encephalomyelitis in the absence of CD8+ T cells



Nucleocapsid or spike protein-specific CD4+ T lymphocytes protect against coronavirus-induced encephalomyelitis in the absence of CD8+ T cells



Journal of Immunology 147(7): 2317-2323



To investigate the antiviral CD4+ T cell response in coronavirus MHV-JHM-induced encephalomyelitis, spleen and thymic lymphocytes from diseased rats were stimulated in culture with virus Ag, expanded and tested for their specificity to viral proteins and nucleocapsid (N) and spike (S) proteins that had been expressed in bacteria. A strong T cell response specific for N was measurable during acute disease, whereas S-specific T cells were only detectable in rats with a later onset of disease. CD4+ T cell lines with specificity for virus and either N or S protein were established and their influence on the course of a mouse hepatitis virus-JHM infection was investigated. All lines were of the CD4+ phenotype. Both N and S protein-specific CD4+ T cells conferred protection to infected Lewis rats and reduced the amount of infectious virus in the central nervous system. After transfer of CD4+ T cells and challenge with virus, an increase in the antiviral IgM response occurred, but neutralizing antibodies were not detectable during the period of virus clearance. Previous CD8+ cell depletion did not abrogate protection mediated by CD4+ T cell line transfer.

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Accession: 018032691

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PMID: 1655890


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