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Immunity. 2001 Oct;15(4):637-46.

Immunopathology in RSV infection is mediated by a discrete oligoclonal subset of antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells.

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Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


Vaccination with the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) attachment (G) protein results in immune-mediated lung injury after natural RSV infection with pathogenic features characteristic of an exaggerated Th2 response. Here we demonstrate that approximately half of the CD4(+) T cells infiltrating the lungs of G-primed mice utilize a single V beta gene (V beta 14) with remarkably limited CDR3 diversity. Furthermore, elimination of these V beta 14-bearing CD4(+) T cells in vivo abolishes the type 2-like pulmonary injury. These results suggest that a novel subset of CD4(+) T cells may be crucial in the development of pathology during human RSV infection and that genetic or environmental factors prior to or at the time of G antigen exposure may affect the commitment of this discrete antigen-specific T cell subset to Th2 differentiation.

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