Genetically susceptible C57BL/6 (B6) mice that are infected with the LP-BM5 isolate of murine retroviruses develop profound splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy, hypergammaglobulinemia, terminal B-cell lymphomas, and an immunodeficiency state bearing many similarities to the pathologies seen in AIDS. Because of these similarities, this syndrome has been called murine AIDS (MAIDS). We have previously shown that CD154 (CD40 ligand)-CD40 molecular interactions are required both for the initiation and progression of MAIDS. Thus, in vivo anti-CD154 monoclonal antibody (MAb) treatment inhibited MAIDS symptoms in LP-BM5-infected wild-type mice when either a short course of anti-CD154 MAb treatment was started on the day of infection or a course was initiated 3 to 4 weeks after LP-BM5 administration, after disease was established. Here, we further characterize this required CD154-CD40 interaction by a series of adoptive transfer experiments designed to elucidate which cellular subsets must express CD154 or CD40 for LP-BM5 to induce MAIDS. Specifically with regard to CD154 expression, MAIDS-insusceptible B6 nude mice reconstituted with highly purified CD4+ T cells from wild-type, but not from CD154 knockout, B6 donors displayed clear MAIDS after LP-BM5 infection. In contrast, nude B6 recipients that received CD8+ T cells from wild-type B6 donors did not develop MAIDS after LP-BM5 infection. B6 CD40 knockout mice, which are also relatively resistant to LP-BM5-induced MAIDS, became susceptible to LP-BM5-induced disease after reconstitution with highly purified wild-type B cells but not after receiving purified wild-type dendritic cells (DC) or a combined CD40+ population composed of DC and macrophages obtained from B6 SCID mouse donors. Based on these and other experiments, we thus conclude that the cellular basis for the requirement for CD154-CD40 interactions for MAIDS induction and progression can be accounted for by CD154 expression on CD4+ T cells and CD40 expression on B cells
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