Administration of Cytoxan in doses capable of inhibiting both humoral and cellular immunity markedly potentiated primary systemic vaccinia virus infection in mice. Immunosuppressed mice did not form neutralizing antibody to vaccinia virus and had a prolonged and more severe viremia than nonimmunosuppressed control mice. Passive transfer of physiologic amounts of neutralizing antibody late in the course of infection, at a time when nonimmunosuppressed mice had similar levels of serum antibody, largely reversed the effect of Cytoxan on vaccinia virus infection. Transfer of 100 million immune spleen cells was much less effective than antibody in reversing the effect of Cytoxan on vaccinia virus infection, and mice receiving these cells did make some antibody. Serum interferon levels were not affected by Cytoxan. The results suggest an essential role for humoral antibody, but not for cellular immunity, in recovery from primary vaccinia virus infection in the mouse.

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