Cytotoxic T cells were detected in the cervical lymph nodes, lungs, spleen, and peripheral blood of mice with influenza. Lymphocytes decreased in the peripheral circulation and increased in the lung during the period of acute inflammation and pneumonia. Peak cytotoxic T-cell activity was present at the time of marked pulmonary infiltration, and it decreased with resolution of the pneumonia. The cytotoxic T cells in the lung were shown to be H-2 restricted and specific for the hemagglutinin of the infecting virus. The results indicate that hemagglutinin specific cytotoxic T cells are (a) induced during influenza infection; (b) they circulate in the blood; (c) they are present in greatest number; and (d) they have their peak cytotoxic effect when pneumonia is most marked. We interpret the results to indicate that specific cytotoxic T cells in the infected target organ are part of the immunological and pathological response to virus infection.

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