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J Virol. 1994 Aug;68(8):5126-32.

Differential Th1 and Th2 cell responses in male and female BALB/c mice infected with coxsackievirus group B type 3.

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Department of Pathology, University of Vermont, Burlington 05405.


Male and female BALB/c mice differ dramatically in susceptibility to myocarditis subsequent to coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) infection. CVB3 infection of male mice results in substantial inflammatory cell infiltration of the myocardium, and virus-immune lymphocytes from these animals give predominantly a Th1 cell phenotypic response, as determined by predominant immunoglobulin G2a isotypic antibody production and elevated numbers of gamma interferon and interleukin-2 (IL-2)-producing CD4+ T lymphocytes. Females infected with the same virus give predominantly a Th2 cell phenotypic response, as determined by preferential immunoglobulin G1 antibody isotypic responses and increased precursor frequencies of IL-4- and IL-5-producing CD4+ T cells. Treatment of females with testosterone or males with estradiol prior to infection alters subsequent Th subset differentiation, suggesting that the sex-associated hormones have either a direct or indirect effect on CD4+ lymphocyte responses in this model. Treatment of females with 0.1 mg of monoclonal antibody to IL-4 reduces precursor frequencies of IL-4-producing CD4+ T cells and increases frequencies of gamma interferon-producing cells. This treatment also enhances myocardial inflammation, indicating a correlation between Th1-like cell responses and pathogenicity in CVB3 infection. The Th2-like cell may regulate Th1 cell activation. Adoptive transfer of T lymphocytes from CVB3-infected female mice into male animals suppresses the development of myocarditis in the recipients. Treatment of the female donors with monoclonal antibodies to either CD3, CD4, or IL-4 molecules abrogates suppression.

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