A substance with pyrogenic properties appears in the blood streams of rabbits made febrile by the intravenous inoculation of the PR8 strain of influenza A and Newcastle disease viruses (NDV). By means of a technique involving passive transfer of sera from animals given virus to recipient rabbits, the titer of circulating pyrogen was found to be closely correlated with the course of fever produced by virus.
Certain properties of the pyrogen are described which differentiate it from the originally injected virus and suggest that the induced pyrogen is of endogenous origin. These properties resemble those of endogenous pyrogens occurring in other forms of experimental fever.
The source of virus-induced pyrogen is unknown. In vitro incubation of virus with various constituents of the circulation did not result in the appearance of endogenous pyrogen.
Granulocytopenia induced by HN2 failed to influence either fever or the production of endogenous pyrogen in rabbits injected with NDV. Similarly, the intraperitoneal inoculation of NDV into prepared exudates did not modify the febrile response. These findings do not lend support to the possibility that the polymorphonuclear leukocyte is a significant source of endogenous pyrogen in virus-induced fever.
It is concluded that the liberation of an endogenous pyrogen from some as yet undefined source is an essential step in the pathogenesis of fever caused by the influenza group of viruses.