The role of interferon in the pathogenesis of encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus infection was determined by treating mice with potent, partially purified sheep anti-mouse interferon globulin. In control mice, EMC virus was present in low titers in various visceral organs but attained high titers in the brain towards the 4th to 5th day, at which time mice died with signs of central nervous system disease. In mice treated with anti-mouse interferon globulin, virus was present in high titer in visceral organs 24--36 h after viral inoculation and virtually all mice were dead by 45 h. This rapid evolution of EMC virus infection was not observed in mice treated with the globulin fraction prepared from a normal sheep, from a sheep exhibiting a low anti-mouse interferon-neutralizing titer, nor from a sheep having a high titer of antibody to human leukocyte interferon. The experimental results indicated that anti-interferon globulin neutralized the interferon liberated by virus-infected cells, thus permitting extensive virus multiplication in several visceral organs. We conclude that interferon is an important early component of host resistance to this virus infection.

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