Generation of memory cell-mediated immune responses after secondary infection of mice with pichinde virus.
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Pichinde virus (PV), a member of the arenavirus group, was found to elicit strong cell-mediated immune responses in various strains of mice. After primary i.v. inoculation, augmentation of natural killer (NK) cell activity occurred and peaked 3 to 4 days after infection. The NK response was followed by a second peak of cytotoxic activity that was found to be H-2 restricted, virus specific, and mediated by Thy-1.2+, Lyt-2.2+ lymphocytes. This cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response peaked 7 days post infection. Neutralizing antibodies were not detectable after PV infection of the mice. In light of this, we investigated the generation and kinetics of secondary cell-mediated immune responses after reinjection of homologous virus in vivo. Slight but significant augmentation of NK activity was observed 1 day after secondary virus challenge. As in the primary response, effectors of this NK activity rapidly became sensitive to anti-Thy-1.2 and complement treatment. NK activity rapidly returned to background levels and was followed by an anamnestic CTL response that peaked 4 days after reinjection of the virus. Thus, cell-mediated immune responses appeared more rapidly after secondary challenge in vivo, and the temporal relationship between NK and CTL generation was maintained. Both secondary NK and CTL responses were generated in mice that had been pretreated with cyclophosphamide (CY), suggesting that memory cell-mediated immune responses can be reactivated in vivo without undergoing cell division. In contrast, treatment with CY before primary infection delayed the appearance of virus-induced NK activity and abrogated the generation of H-2-restricted virus-specific CTL. Rechallenge of these CY-treated NK-primed mice resulted in the rapid generation of a secondary NK response that was not followed by either a primary or secondary CTL response. The data suggest that cells mediating a nonspecific effector function may possess specific memory. We discuss our results with respect to possible NK-CTL relationships.
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