The drug monosodium luminol (GVT®) preserves thymic epithelial cell cytoarchitecture and allows thymocyte survival in mice infected with the T cell-tropic, cytopathic retrovirus ts1

Virginia L. Scofield, Mingshan Yan, Xianghong Kuang, Soo Jin Kim, Derek Crunk, Paul K.Y. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


A mutant of MoMuLV, called ts1, causes an AIDS-like syndrome in susceptible strains of mice. In mice infected at birth, thymic atrophy, CD4+ T cell loss, body wasting, and death occur by ∼30-40 days postinfection (dpi). We have shown previously that the death of ts1-infected cells is not caused by viral replication per se, but by oxidative stress and apoptosis following their accumulation the ts1 viral envelope precursor protein, gPr80env. In infected mice treated with the antioxidant monosodium α-luminol (GVT®), T cell loss and thymic atrophy are delayed for many weeks, and body wasting and death do not occur until long after infected, untreated control mice have died. We show here that GVT treatment of ts1-infected mice maintains the thymic epithelial cell (TEC) cytoarchitecture and cytokeratin gradients required for thymocyte differentiation. It also suppresses thymocyte reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, upregulates and stabilizes levels of the antioxidant-regulating transcription factor Nrf2, and prevents accumulation of gPr80env in thymocytes. We conclude that GVT treatment can make ts1 a non-cytopathic virus for thymocytes, although it cannot prevent thymocyte infection. Since oxidative stress also contributes to the loss of T cells in HIV-AIDS, the antioxidant effects of GVT may make it a useful therapeutic adjunct to HAART treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 21 2009



  • GVT
  • Oxidative stress
  • Thymus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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