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Immunol Res. 1998;17(1-2):75-82.

Viral pathogenesis and immunity within the thymus.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19204-6142, USA.


Replication of viruses within the thymic microenvironment may have a unique impact on viral persistence and pathology. The author's laboratory has studied thymic infection by both human and murine retroviruses. For human lentiviruses, such as HIV-1, the consequences of persistent thymic replication are frequently a severe disruption of the normal processes of thymopoiesis and potentially of progression to AIDS. Murine retroviruses, such as Gross murine leukemia virus, establish persistent infection with less cytopathic, but no less devastating effects. These include the alteration of immune recognition to retroviral antigens by the peripheral immune response, the thymic persistence of virus, and the establishment of viral-induced thymic leukemia. This article summarizes the analysis of both the common and distinctive means of pathology induced by these two retroviral families with particular attention on the influence and impact of the thymus as a unique site of virus replication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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