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Virol J. 2007 Jun 6;4:53.

Clearance of an immunosuppressive virus from the CNS coincides with immune reanimation and diversification.

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Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Department, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Once a virus infection establishes persistence in the central nervous system (CNS), it is especially difficult to eliminate from this specialized compartment. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to fully understand scenarios during which a persisting virus is ultimately purged from the CNS by the adaptive immune system. Such a scenario can be found following infection of adult mice with an immunosuppressive variant of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) referred to as clone 13. In this study we demonstrate that following intravenous inoculation, clone 13 rapidly infected peripheral tissues within one week, but more slowly innundated the entire brain parenchyma over the course of a month. During the establishment of persistence, we observed that genetically tagged LCMV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) progressively lost function; however, the severity of this loss in the CNS was never as substantial as that observed in the periphery. One of the most impressive features of this model system is that the peripheral T cell response eventually regains functionality at ~60-80 days post-infection, and this was associated with a rapid decline in virus from the periphery. Coincident with this "reanimation phase" was a massive influx of CD4 T and B cells into the CNS and a dramatic reduction in viral distribution. In fact, olfactory bulb neurons served as the last refuge for the persisting virus, which was ultimately purged from the CNS within 200 days post-infection. These data indicate that a functionally revived immune response can prevail over a virus that establishes widespread presence both in the periphery and brain parenchyma, and that therapeutic enhancement of an existing response could serve as an effective means to thwart long term CNS persistence.

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