Bovine leukemia virus replicates in sheep B lymphocytes under a T cell released factor

Eur J Cancer Clin Oncol. 1987 Jan;23(1):81-5. doi: 10.1016/0277-5379(87)90423-8.


In order to determine which cell supports BLV replication in experimentally infected sheep, peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) were separated into purified B and T populations by a panning technique. Our data demonstrate that viral replication takes place only in B lymphocytes. However, PHA, a T cell mitogen, is necessary for BLV replication both in PBL and enriched surface immunoglobulin bearing cells, whereas B cell mitogens have no effect on viral replication. Altogether, these results suggest that BLV activation in enriched B lymphocytes is dependent on the presence of residual T cells, and occurs through a T cell interaction, probably mediated by a soluble factor. This possibility was confirmed by the fact that the conditioned medium from cultures of BLV-free sheep T lymphocytes greatly enhances viral production by infected B lymphocytes. Our data favor the hypothesis that BLV multiplication occurs through the regular activation mechanisms of the immune system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • B-Lymphocytes / microbiology*
  • Cell Communication
  • Leukemia Virus, Bovine / growth & development*
  • Leukemia, Experimental / physiopathology
  • Phytohemagglutinins / pharmacology
  • Retroviridae / growth & development*
  • Sheep
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Virus Activation
  • Virus Replication*


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Phytohemagglutinins