Retroviral induction of acute lymphoproliferative disease and profound immunosuppression in adult C57BL/6 mice

J Exp Med. 1985 Apr 1;161(4):766-84. doi: 10.1084/jem.161.4.766.


We have shown that a mixture of murine leukemia viruses (MuLV) causes the acute onset of lymphoproliferation and immunosuppression when injected into adult C57BL/6 mice. The ecotropic/MCF (mink cell focus-inducing) mixture of MuLV stimulates polyclonal B lymphocyte proliferation and differentiation to antibody-secreting cells. Serum Ig levels are elevated for all isotypes except IgA. The viral infection leads to a rapid decline in T lymphocyte responses to mitogens and alloantigens, as well as a decrease in helper cell activity. Specific antibody responses to both T-dependent and T-independent antigens are impaired, and the response of B lymphocytes to mitogens is abolished. The profound immunosuppression seems to be due to the MuLV-induced polyclonal activation of lymphocytes. No active suppression of normal lymphocyte responses by cells from virus-infected mice was observed. The disease induced by the LP-BM5 MuLV isolate thus seems a promising model for the study of lymphocyte activation and the mechanisms of retrovirus-induced immunosuppression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / classification
  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Cell Transformation, Viral*
  • Female
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia / etiology
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Leukemia Virus, Murine
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / etiology*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / immunology
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phenotype
  • Spleen / pathology
  • T-Lymphocytes / classification
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Tumor Virus Infections / complications*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / immunology
  • Tumor Virus Infections / pathology