Role of T cells in resistance to Theiler's virus infection

Moses Rodriguez, Mark D. Lindsley, Mabel L. Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Intracerebral infection of C57BL/10SNJ mice with Theiler's virus results in acute encephalitis with subsequent virus clearance and absence of spinal cord demyelination. In contrast, infection of SJL/J mice results in acute encephalitis, virus persistence, and immune-mediated demyelination. These experiments examined the role of T-cell subsets in the in vivo immune response to Theiler's virus in resistant C57BL/10SNJ mice. Depletion of T-cell subsets with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed at CD3 (pan-T-cell marker), CD4+ (class II-restricted) or CD8+ (class I-restricted) T cells resulted in increased frequency of paralysis and death as a result of acute encephalitis. Neuropathologic studies 10 days after infection demonstrated prominent necrosis, primarily in the pyramidal layer of hippocampus and in the thalamus of mice depleted of T-cell subsets. In immunosuppressed and infected C57BL/10SNJ mice, analysis of spinal cord sections 35 days after infection demonstrated small demyelinated lesions relatively devoid of inflammatory cells even though virus antigen could be detected by immunocytochemistry. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are important in the resistance to infection with Theiler's virus in C57BL/10SNJ mice. However, subsequent spinal cord demyelination, to the extent observed in susceptible mice, depends on the presence of virus antigen persistence and a competent cellular immune response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-281
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1991


  • cytotoxic T cell
  • multiple sclerosis
  • myelin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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