T lymphocyte tolerance and early appearance of virus-induced cell surface antigens in Moloney-murine leukemia virus neonatally injected mice

D. Collavo, P. Zanovello, G. Biasi, L. Chieco-Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Regression of Moloney-murine sarcoma virus- (M-MSV) induced sarcomas in normal adult mice is accompanied by generation of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). However, when neonatal mice that were injected with Moloney-murine leukemia virus (M-MuLV carrier) were subsequently challenged as adults with M-MSV, the sarcomas did not regress nor did they generate CTL. This failure to produce CTL cannot be ascribed to nonspecific immunodepressive effects or to suppressor cell generation since M-MuLV carrier mice exhibit normal reactivity after allogeneic cell stimulation. Moreover, addition of M-MuLV-infected cells as the third party to cultures does not reduce activity of CTL from M-MSV immune mice. Since M-MSV and M-MuLV possess common antigens, the observed unresponsiveness was considered in relationship to induction of a T lymphocyte tolerance, which may follow introduction of foreign antigens at an early stage of development. In fact, it was observed that as early as 10 days after injection, thymus, lymph node, and spleen from M-MuLV carrier mice express virus-induced cell-surface antigens that not only are targets for M-MSV-immune CTL, but also induce in vitro a strong specific cytotoxic response. In addition, a cold target inhibition assay disclosed that the same antigens are shared by both M-MuLV infected and leukemic cells, even though they are less expressed on the surface of the former. The finding that the cytotoxicity of alloreactive lymphocytes from M-MuLV carrier mice is reduced after preincubation with M-MSV immune CTL confirms that virus infection does not bring about functional inactivation of lymphocytes. Finally, it was observed that virus antigen presence on lymphocytes from M-MuLV neonatally injected mice is closely related to subsequent leukemia development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

Cite this