Cytomegalovirus causes T cell immune impairment in infected mice, reflected by a decreased response to the T cell mitogens PHA and Con A, and reduction of Con A-induced IL-2 secretion. Concomitantly, a marked increase in the spleen weight of infected mice was found. Histological examination of the liver revealed focal hepatitis. These signs of infection lasted from day 5 to day 14 after infection when mice slowly started to recover. Systemic treatment of MCMV-infected mice with thymic humoral factor (THF) resulted in a reconstitution of the mitogenic responses, IL-2 secretion, normalization of spleen weight and recovery of liver inflammation. Unlike other thymic hormones, THF did not affect interferon synthesis and NK cytotoxicity in infected mice. It is concluded that THF restores immune competence of mice immunosuppressed as a result of MCMV infection, through modulation of the T cell compartment
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