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Cell Immunol. 2006 Oct;243(2):67-74. Epub 2007 Feb 15.

Distinct cellular immune responses following primary and secondary influenza virus challenge in cotton rats.

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  • 1Virion Systems Inc., 9610 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.


To evaluate cell-mediated immunity in influenza-infected cotton rats, we compared the cellular composition of spleen, mediastinal lymph nodes (MLN) and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) after primary and secondary infection. There was an increase in cellularity in the MLN after primary infection that was further expanded upon rechallenge. CD4(+) T cells expanded after primary infection, but there was preferential increase in the number of CD4-negative T cells following secondary challenge. After primary infection, a large proportion of the monocytes and NK cells were present in the BAL while a T cell population dominated after secondary infection. CD4(+) T cells were predominant in this population unless the animals had been challenged with heterosubtypic influenza A virus. These studies are the first to show evidence of a memory T cell response to influenza infection in cotton rats and show quantitative and qualitative differences between the recall response to homosubtypic and heterosubtypic viruses.

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