The immunosuppressive effects of measles virus on T cell function - Failure to affect IL-2 release or cytotoxic T cell activity in vitro

L. K. Borysiewicz, P. Casali, B. Rogers, S. Morris, J. G. Sissons

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13 Scopus citations


Measles virus (MV) is known to depress T cell function. In order to determine whether this results from alteration in the production of, or response to, interleukin-2 (IL-2) we studied the effect of in vitro infection with MV on human IL-2-dependent T cell lines. MV produced a cytopathic productive infection in these cells. Class I allospecific cytotoxic T cells retained their cytotoxic activity 48 h after infection. Both cytotoxic and Leu 3a/4a positive T cell lines continued to respond to IL-2 by proliferation up to 26 h after infection. The ability of human tonsillar lymphocytes to generate IL-2 in response to phytohaemagglutinin following MV infection was then studied. In early measles infection (up to 48 h) there was no suppression of IL-2 production: in fact measles infected cells spontaneously released low levels of IL-2 in the absence of lectin. Similarly, IL-2 release was not affected by Herpes simples virus infection of such cultures, although lymphocytes infected with Sendai or respiratory syncitial viruses produced considerably less IL-2. These observations suggest that MV-induced immunosuppression is not a result of inhibition of differentiated T cell function, IL-2 generation or responsiveness, but may be more directly related to virus-induced cytopathic effects in activated T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 13 1985


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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