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Induction of self-reactive T cells after murine coronavirus infection



Induction of self-reactive T cells after murine coronavirus infection



Journal of Virology 65(4): 1789-1795



We studied the mechanism of in vitro spontaneous lymphokine production by spleen cells from mice injected intraperitoneally with murine coronavirus stain JHM 1 month after infection, when infectious virus had already been cleared from the spleens. Removal of either CD4+ T cells or Ia+ antigen-presenting cells (APC) from the spleen cells abrogated interleukin-2 (IL-2) production. Addition of anti-CD4 or anti-Iad monoclonal antibodies to the culture suppressed IL-2 production. These results suggest that the response involved typical receptor-mediated activation of T cells. Surprisingly, reciprocal mixing experiments with a coculture of T cells from infected mice and APC from either infected or naive mice resulted in the production of IL-2. The absence of viral antigens in spleen cells 1 month after infection, as indicated by their inability to induce the proliferation of T-cell clones specific for the viral antigens, suggest that the T cells from mice 1 month after infection were not responding to the viral antigens. The inoculum components other than the virus did not induce this immune response. We also found that the frequency of self-reactive but not alloreactive IL-2-producing T cells in the spleens of infected mice was 3- to 10-fold higher than that in naive mice. These findings suggest that an increased frequency of self-reactive T cells which secrete IL-2 occurs following murine coronavirus infection. This may have important implications in the development of autoimmunelike phenomena following murine coronavirus infection.

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Accession: 040421545

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PMID: 1848306


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