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Scand J Immunol. 1994 Oct;40(4):373-82.

The role of CD4+ T cells in cell-mediated immunity to LCMV: studies in MHC class I and class II deficient mice.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Copenhagen, Panum Institute, Denmark.


Parameters of the virus-specific T-cell response were analysed in order to dissect the contribution of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells to cell-mediated immunity to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. In MHC class II deficient mice, initial T-cell responsiveness was not impaired, but virus clearance was delayed, and virus-specific Td activity declined more rapidly. Furthermore, class I restricted Tc memory appeared to be impaired in these mice. To directly evaluate the role of CD4+ cells in virus clearance and T-cell mediated inflammation, MHC class I deficient mice were also studied. No virus-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction was detected following infection of the footpad, and only a few mice died from intracerebral challenge. However analysis of markers of T-cell activation as well as direct evaluation of CSF inflammation unveiled a low degree of T-cell activation and a chronic cellular exudate. This low-grade response was associated with some degree of virus control as organ titres were lower in these animals than in matched T-cell deficient nu/nu mice or class I deficient mice treated with anti-CD4 monoclonal antibody. This confirms that CD4+ cells are not needed to induce a virus-specific CD8+ T-cell response, but our findings strongly suggest that CD4+ T cells are critical for maintaining full antiviral immunity. Furthermore, CD4+ T cells per se have a low potential for mediating virus-specific inflammation that is associated with a low degree of virus control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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