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J Virol. 1991 Jan;65(1):220-4.

Protective cellular retroviral immunity requires both CD4+ and CD8+ immune T cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.


We have found previously that postexposure chemoprophylaxis with 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (also known as zidovudine or AZT) in combination with recombinant human alpha A/D interferon fully protected mice exposed to a lethal dose of Rauscher murine leukemia virus (RLV) against viremia and disease. After cessation of therapy, over 90% of these mice were able to resist rechallenge with live RLV, thus demonstrating an acquired immunity. Adoptive cell transfer of 4 x 10(7) cells from immunized mice fully protected naive recipients from viremia and splenomegaly after RLV challenge. However, when these immune T cells were fractionated into CD4+ and CD8+ subpopulations, only partial protection was found when 4 x 10(7) T cells of either subset were given. Full protection against RLV challenge was seen again when the T-cell subsets from immunized mice were recombined and transferred at the same number into naive mice. We conclude that cellular immunity alone is protective and that both CD4+ and CD8+ cell types are required for conferring full protection against live virus challenge.

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