Athymic nu/nu mice were found to be resistant to the immunodeficiency disease and lethality induced in normal mice by the injection of the LP-BM5 mixture of murine retroviruses (LP-BM5 MuLV). Susceptibility to disease induction was reconstituted by injection of nu/nu mice with purified, mature T lymphocytes. The extent of viral replication of both the ecotropic and mink cell focus forming (MCF) components of LP-BM5 MuLV was equivalent in both nu/nu and normal animals. Retrovirally-induced immunodeficiency disease in mice (MAIDS) is thus dependent upon the presence of functional T lymphocytes, and high virus titers in athymic mice have little or no effect on the immune system.

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