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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 1999 Sep 1;70(1-2):43-54.

Determination of equid herpesvirus 1-specific, CD8+, cytotoxic T lymphocyte precursor frequencies in ponies.

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Centre for Preventive Medicine, Animal Health Trust, Kentford, Suffolk, UK.


The frequency of antigen-specific, genetically restricted cytotoxic T lymphocyte precursors (CTLp) was measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of ponies before and after infection with equid herpesvirus 1 (EHV1). Split-well limiting dilution analysis (LDA) was developed to measure CTLp frequency using EHV1-infected 51Cr-labelled lymphoblasts as targets. Extensive characterisation showed that recombinant human interleukin-2, autologous antigen presenting cells and equine serum containing virus neutralising antibody were necessary for maturation of CTLp into effector CTL in vitro. CTLs were not induced when the equine serum (containing VN antibody) was replaced with either foetal calf serum or foetal equine serum (without VN antibody), or seronegative equine serum. CTLp frequency decreased significantly when CD8+ lymphocytes were depleted from the induction cultures. There was good inter- and intra-assay reproducibility using both fresh and recovered cryopreserved PBMC. Both EHV1 and EHV4 could be used to induce effector CTL which lysed EHV1-infected target cells. CTLp frequencies were measured in 2 groups of ponies: Group 1 consisted of two ponies (approx. 9 years old), which had multiple previous experimental infections with EHV1; Group 2 comprised five young (1-2 years) and two older (7 years) ponies which had presumed natural exposure to EHV1/EHV4 but no previous experimental infections. The results showed that CTLp frequencies were higher in the ponies of Group 1 compared with the others. Moreover, ponies with the higher CTLp frequencies were better protected against re-challenge infection with EHV1, showing reduced or absent clinical and virological signs. Consequently, measurement of EHV1-specific CTLp frequency is a potential in vitro correlate of immunity which may be useful for screening new vaccines in horses before embarking upon challenge protection studies to confirm efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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