Central nervous system immunity in mice infected with theiler's virus. I. local neutralizing antibody response

Howard L. Lipton, Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Experimental Theiler's mouse encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) infection in mice is atypical of most other picornavirus infections because virus persists in the host. It was shown previously that low levels of infectious virus are readily detectable in the central nervous system (CNS) despite the presence of substantial titers of serum neutralizing antibody. In this study antibody assays were performed on CNS tissue homogenates, and neutralizing antibody was regularly found in the CNS of TMEVinfected mice. That neutralization by infected CNS extracts was due to antibody was demonstrated by the specificity of neutralization for TMEV and by elimination or marked reduction of neutralization by in vitro treatment with goat antiserum to mouse IgG. In addition, immunofluorescent staining consistently revealed IgG-but not IgM-containing cells in perivascular cuffs and parenchymal lesions of the brains of infected animals. Evidence of local antibody formation in the CNS was found in the actual reversal of the serum-CNS antibody ratio in about one-third of infected mice after three weeks. In contrast, normal mice had a mean serum-CNS antibody ratio of approximately 100:1 after passive transfer of antibody. Possible reasons for the fact that TMEV is not neutralized by antibody and chronic infection is not aborted include the formation of complexes of infectious virus and antibody in the CNS and the production of antibodies with low affinity for TMEV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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