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Curr Opin Immunol. 1997 Aug;9(4):477-83.

Tuning into immunological dissonance: an experimental model for infectious mononucleosis.

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Department of lmmunology, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, 332 North Lauderdale, Memphis, TN 38105, USA. <


Virus infections cause a much more profound perturbation of the lymphoid tissue than can be accounted for by the exigencies of the antigen-specific response. The extent of this 'immunological dissonance' is seen most dramatically in mice infected with a persistent gamma-herpesvirus, MHV-68. A profile of massive, continuing proliferation of both T and B cells in the lymph nodes and spleen leads to a dramatic increase in the prevalence of a CD62Llow CD8+ T cell subset in the blood, a pattern first detected two to three weeks after intranasal exposure to the inducing virus. This syndrome, which seems identical to human infectious mononucleosis (IM), persists for a further month or more. Part of the IM-like phase of MHV-68 infection reflects the selective expansion of Vbeta4+ CD8+ T cells, with the Vbeta4 effect being apparent for several different MHC class I H-2 types but not in mice that are deficient in MHC class II glycoprotein expression. Depleting CD4(+) T helper cells in MHV-68-infected mice leads to the decreased proliferation of the CD8+ T cells in the spleen and fewer CD62Llow CD8+ T lymphocytes than would be expected in peripheral blood, but fails to diminish the prominence of the V4beta+ CD8+ population. The results so far of this unique experimental mouse model of IM suggest that both cytokine-mediated effects and a viral superantigen are operating to promote the dramatic expansion and persistence of activated CD8+ T cells in the vascular compartment.

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