Coxsackievirus B 1-induced polymyositis. Lack of disease expression in nu/nu mice

J Clin Invest. 1987 Aug;80(2):499-506. doi: 10.1172/JCI113098.


Chronic inflammatory myositis similar to human polymyositis occurs in mice after infection with a strain of Coxsackievirus B 1 (CVB 1). To investigate the role of T cells in the pathogenesis of this disorder, we compared disease expression in T cell-deficient athymic nude (nu/nu) mice and heterozygotes (nu/+) with normal T cell function. Acute infectious myositis occurred in nu/nu and nu/+ mice. Chronic (greater than 21 d postinfection) weakness and myositis, however, developed only in nu/+. Resistance to disease in nu/nu mice was not explained by insusceptibility to infection; the amount of virus lethal for 50% of mice and virus replication were comparable in both groups. Additionally, anti-CVB 1 antibody production was similar in both groups. Reconstitution of infected nu/nu mice with spleen cells from normal mice resulted in disease. These results demonstrate that chronic weakness after infection with this virus is not simply a sequela of acute myonecrosis and suggest that T cells play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of chronic myositis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Coxsackievirus Infections / immunology*
  • Enterovirus B, Human / growth & development
  • Enterovirus B, Human / immunology*
  • Enterovirus B, Human / pathogenicity
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude / immunology
  • Myositis / immunology*
  • Myositis / pathology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Virus Replication


  • Antibodies, Viral