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Virus-associated immunopathology: animal models and implications for human disease: 2. Cell-mediated immunity, autoimmune diseases, genetics, and implications for clinical research*



Part 2 of this memorandum describes further mechanisms whereby the interaction of a virus with the host's immune system may lead to tissue damage. Cell-mediated immunity plays a vital role in promoting recovery from virus infections, but under some circumstances tissue damage may be caused by the reaction of immune cells with viral antigens. When mice are infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus neonatally or as adults while receiving immunosuppressive drugs, widespread invasion of cells is seen but there is little overt disease. If, however, normal adults are infected or if immune cells are transfused into tolerant mice, cell injury and death follow. Viruses have long been suspected of contributing to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Antibodies directed against normal cell constituents have been reported in several virus infections. Viruses may conceivably unmask or release host antigens, alter host antigens and act as “helper determinants”, or perhaps in other ways provoke immune responses against normal body constituents. The immunopathological manifestations caused by viruses may also be influenced by the host's genetic makeup. Certain observations indicate that, in addition to controlling susceptibility to virus infection, genetic factors partly determine the effectiveness of the immune response. The memorandum calls attention to the possible implications of these concepts and findings for clinical research. Some of the diseases of animals and man that serve as models for studies of virus-associated immunopathology are briefly described

Topics: Memoranda
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