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Cell Immunol. 1988 Oct 15;116(2):367-81.

Measles virus-induced suppression of lymphocyte proliferation.

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Department of Microbiology and Medicine, University of New Mexico, School of Medicine, Albuquerque 87131.


The mechanism by which measles virus induces immunosuppression was investigated using an in vitro system employing phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-induced human peripheral mononuclear cell (PBMC) proliferation. At a multiplicity of infection of 1.0 or greater measles virus significantly inhibited (45%) the proliferation of PBMC. This inhibition was not due to an alteration in the kinetics of proliferation. PHA-stimulated PBMC were then infected with measles virus for 72 hr and irradiated (3200 rad) to prevent further proliferation. These infected, irradiated PBMC when added to fresh autologous PBMC caused significant inhibition of lymphoproliferation over a wide range of infected:fresh cell ratios (maximum inhibition seen at a 1:1 ratio, 85% inhibition). Virus recovered from the irradiated, infected cells was 100-fold lower than the virus titer needed to cause inhibition by direct addition of measles virus. However, antibody to measles virus reversed the inhibition. Virus-free supernatant fluids from the infected irradiated cells caused immunosuppression of the PHA response. This immunosuppressive material induced by the measles virus was maximally produced after 72 hr and did not appear to require viral replication. This factor was not prostaglandin E or interferon-alpha or -gamma. The production of such suppressive factors during viral infection may explain some of the profound immunosuppression seen in situations in which little or no infectious virus can be detected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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