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Immunology. 1992 Mar;75(3):542-5.

Mouse hepatitis virus infection suppresses modulation of mouse spleen T-cell activation.

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  • 1Center for Research in Periodontal Diseases and Oral Molecular Biology, University of Illinois, Chicago 60612.


Natural infection by mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) can affect interpretation of immunological studies in mice. MHV, a collective term describing a group of corona viruses, is found in natural infections in over 70% of laboratory mouse populations in the U.S.A. and Canada. Natural outbreaks of MHV in our animal colony afforded us the opportunity to study MHV-induced immunosuppression as well as the effects of MHV infection on neurotransmitter immunomodulation. Concanavalin A (Con A)-stimulated DNA synthesis by spleen T lymphocytes from MHV-infected mice was 20-50% that of non-infected mice. The MHV infection also altered neurotransmitter modulation of spleen T-lymphocyte activation. In contrast to noradrenaline ablation of Con A-activated DNA synthesis by spleen lymphocytes from non-infected mice, DNA synthesis by the infected group was not inhibited by noradrenaline or dibutyryl-cAMP. These effects of MHV infection were specific for spleen T lymphocytes since MHV infection did not alter Con A stimulation of thymocytes, lipopolysaccharide stimulation of spleen B lymphocytes, or noradrenaline inhibition of thymocyte and B-cell DNA synthesis. MHV infection also did not alter spleen T-lymphocyte subset proportions. Thus, MHV infection inhibits spleen T-lymphocyte activation and blocks in vitro catecholamine and cAMP regulation of spleen T-cell activation but does not affect activation of thymic cells or spleen B cells.

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