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The pathogenic role of virus-specific antibody-secreting cells in the central nervous system of rats with different susceptibility to coronavirus-induced demyelinating encephalitis



The pathogenic role of virus-specific antibody-secreting cells in the central nervous system of rats with different susceptibility to coronavirus-induced demyelinating encephalitis



Immunology 74(3): 533-538



The humoral immune response in the central nervous system (CNS) of susceptible Lewis (LE) rats and resistant Brown Norway (BN) rats was analysed after intracerebral infection with the murine coronavirus JHM (MHV4). The subclinical course of the infection in BN rats was characterized by an early rise of neutralizing antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 7 days post-infection. At this time in LE rats, neutralizing antibodies were not detectable in the CSF and the animals developed neurological signs of infection. Subsequently, LE rats recovered from disease. This process was accompanied by increasing titres of virus-neutralizing antibodies. Within the CNS parenchyma of both rat strains, equivalent numbers of IgM-secreting cells were detected. However, in BN rats, virus-specific IgG secreting cells appeared earlier and in higher numbers. Moreover, based on the size of zones of antibody secreted by single cells in the Spot-ELISA assay, it appeared that cells from BN rats secreted IgG antibody of higher affinity. These data suggest that early maturation of antiviral antibody responses in the resistant BN rat probably restricts the spread of viral infection to small foci within the CNS, resulting in a subclinical level of primary demyelination. In contrast, the absence of neutralizing antibodies in the susceptible LE rats favours spread of the virus throughout the CNS, resulting finally in severe neurological disease.

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Accession: 041709731

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PMID: 1663078


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