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Nat Med. 1999 Jun;5(6):629-34.

Production of atypical measles in rhesus macaques: evidence for disease mediated by immune complex formation and eosinophils in the presence of fusion-inhibiting antibody.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


The severe disease atypical measles occurred when individuals immunized with a poorly protective inactivated vaccine contracted measles, and was postulated to be due to a lack of fusion-inhibiting antibodies. Here, rhesus macaques immunized with formalin-inactivated measles vaccine developed transient neutralizing and fusion-inhibiting antibodies, but no cytotoxic T-cell response. Subsequent infection with measles virus caused an atypical rash and pneumonitis, accompanied by immune complex deposition and an increase in eosinophils. Fusion-inhibiting antibody appeared earlier in these monkeys than in non-immunized monkeys. These data indicate that atypical measles results from previous priming for a nonprotective type 2 CD4 T-cell response rather than from lack of functional antibody against the fusion protein.

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