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Hepatology. 1995 Sep;22(3):687-99.

In vitro activation of woodchuck lymphocytes measured by radiopurine incorporation and interleukin-2 production: implications for modeling immunity and therapy in hepatitis B virus infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.


Cellular immune responses to hepatitis B virus (HBV) play an important role in the resolution of acute infection. They also influence the course of chronic infection and disease but are inadequate to completely clear the infection. Woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) infection of the woodchuck can provide a model to study these processes. Lymphocyte responses of woodchucks were assessed by in vitro proliferation and/or interleukin (IL)-2 assays using mitogen (Concanavalin A [ConA]), cytokine (IL-2), superantigen (Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin B [SEB]), major histocompatibility complex (MHC) allo-antigen (mixed lymphocyte reaction [MLR]), and viral antigens (woodchuck hepatitis virus core antigen [WHcAg] and woodchuck hepatitis virus surface antigen [WHsAg]). ConA-stimulated woodchuck lymphocytes underwent cell division based on cell counting experiments and produced IL-2 as detected using an IL-2-dependent murine cell line but failed to incorporate sufficient tritiated thymidine; however, they did incorporate sufficient tritiated adenosine and deoxyadenosine to permit development of a meaningful proliferation assay. The IL-2 assay was sensitive and specific for detection of woodchuck IL-2 induced by mitogen, superantigen, and MLR, as shown by quantitative titration analysis and anti-body neutralization of ConA-supernatant activity. Cyclosporin A and FK506 specifically inhibited ConA- and SEB-induced IL-2 production by woodchuck lymphocytes. Positive two-way MLRs were detected by IL-2 production and proliferation assay between woodchucks from different geographic regions, thus indicating divergence among MHC molecules; however, occasional negative MLR reactions among indigenous pairs of woodchucks indicated that some woodchucks were mutually immunocompatible to some degree. The radioadenosine proliferation assay was sensitive for detecting peripheral blood lymphocyte responses to WHcAg and WHsAg in adult woodchucks with recently resolved acute infections. The above systems should facilitate the design of adoptive therapy and liver transplantation experiments in the woodchuck, and also enable modeling of immune responses that promote and maintain chronic hepadnavirus infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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