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Immunity. 2001 Aug;15(2):173-85.

The AIDS disease of CD4C/HIV transgenic mice shows impaired germinal centers and autoantibodies and develops in the absence of IFN-gamma and IL-6.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Clinical Research Institute of Montréal, Québec H2W 1R7, Montréal, Canada.


The mechanisms responsible for degeneration of germinal centers (GC) and follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks during progression to AIDS remain elusive. Here, we show that CD4(+) T cells from CD4C/HIV-1 Tg mice, which develop a severe AIDS-like disease, express low levels of CD40 ligand. Accordingly, GC formation, FDC networks, and immunoglobulin isotype switching are impaired in these animals. However, Tg B cells respond to in vitro CD40 stimulation. Total serum IgG levels are reduced in Tg mice, whereas total IgM levels are increased with a significant amount showing DNA specificity. IFN-gamma- and IL-6-deficient CD4C/HIV Tg mice also develop the AIDS-like disease and produce auto-Ab. Thus, CD4C/HIV Tg mice have immune dysfunction accompanied by autoimmune responses.

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