Immunopathology in RSV infection is mediated by a discrete oligoclonal subset of antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells

Immunity. 2001 Oct;15(4):637-46. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(01)00209-6.


Vaccination with the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) attachment (G) protein results in immune-mediated lung injury after natural RSV infection with pathogenic features characteristic of an exaggerated Th2 response. Here we demonstrate that approximately half of the CD4(+) T cells infiltrating the lungs of G-primed mice utilize a single V beta gene (V beta 14) with remarkably limited CDR3 diversity. Furthermore, elimination of these V beta 14-bearing CD4(+) T cells in vivo abolishes the type 2-like pulmonary injury. These results suggest that a novel subset of CD4(+) T cells may be crucial in the development of pathology during human RSV infection and that genetic or environmental factors prior to or at the time of G antigen exposure may affect the commitment of this discrete antigen-specific T cell subset to Th2 differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Complementarity Determining Regions / genetics
  • Female
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / genetics
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / immunology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / pathology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / classification
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Viral Proteins / immunology*


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Complementarity Determining Regions
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Viral Proteins