Virus shedding from the epithelial cells of the serous acini of salivary glands is a major source for the horizontal transmission of cytomegalovirus. These cells are, different to other tissues, exempt from CD8 T lymphocyte control. CD4 T lymphocytes are essential to terminate the productive infection. Here, we prove that T-B cooperation and the production of antibodies are not required for this process. For the infection with murine cytomegalovirus, mutant mice were used which do not produce antibodies because of a disrupted membrane exon of the immunoglobulin mu chain gene. Also, in these mice the virus clearance from salivary glands is a function of CD4 T lymphocytes. However, these mice clear the virus and establish viral latency with a kinetics that is distinguishable from normal mice. Reactivation from virus latency is the only stage at which the absence of antibodies alters the phenotype of infection. In immunoglobulin-deficient mice, virus recurrence results in higher virus titers. The adoptive serum transfer proved that antibody is the limited factor that prevents virus dissemination in the immunodeficient host.
Antibodies are not essential for the resolution of primary cytomegalovirus infection but limit dissemination of recurrent virus.
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S Jonjić, I Pavić, B Polić, I Crnković, P Lucin, U H Koszinowski; Antibodies are not essential for the resolution of primary cytomegalovirus infection but limit dissemination of recurrent virus.. J Exp Med 1 May 1994; 179 (5): 1713–1717. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.179.5.1713
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