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Eur J Immunol. 1984 Jun;14(6):561-5.

Autoimmunity following viral infection: demonstration of monoclonal antibodies against normal tissue following infection of mice with reovirus and demonstration of shared antigenicity between virus and lymphocytes.


Splenic lymphocytes from adult C57BL/6 mice infected with purified reovirus type 1 or 3 particles were fused with NS1 myeloma cells. Approximately 300 clones were obtained from each fusion (type 1 or type 3) and the supernatants from these clones were screened by radioimmunoassay for their ability to bind virus, T lymphocytes, brain, liver, lung tissues and isolated oligodendrocytes and ependymal cells. Approximately 10% of clones (33 and 26 clones, respectively) were positive for each fusion. For reovirus type 1:21% of positive clones bound only virus, 64% bound one of the normal tissues but not virus, and 15% bound both virus and one or more of the normal tissues. For reovirus type 3: 19% of positive clones bound only virus, 73% bound normal tissue only, and 8% bound both virus and normal tissue. Only 3 positive clones were obtained from uninfected control animals. These experiments demonstrate that (a) during the course of an immune response to a virus, autoantibodies are generated which react with a large variety of normal tissues and that (b) there are shared antigenic structures between viral determinants and normal tissue that can be identified by monoclonal antibodies. Although these results suggest two mechanisms by which an autoimmune response may develop following viral infection, the biological significance of these autoreactive monoclonal antibodies remains to be elucidated.

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