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Lucin, Pero; Pavic, Ivica; Polic, Bojan; Jonjic, Stipan and Koszinowski, Ulrich H. (1992): Gamma interferon-dependent clearance of cytomegalovirus infection in salivary glands. In: Journal of virology, Vol. 66: pp. 1977-1984 [PDF, 1MB]

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Cytomegalovirus (CMV), similar to other members of the Herpesviridae family, can establish both persistent and latent infections. Each of the CMVs that are found in many animal species replicates in the salivary gland, and oral secretion represents a source of horizontal transmission. Locally restricted replication characterizes the immunocompetent individual, whereas in the immunocompromised host, protean disease manifestations occur due to virus dissemination. The virus is cleared by immune surveillance, and CD8+ T lymphocytes play a major role. Remarkably, certain cell types of salivary gland tissues are exempt from CD8+ T-lymphocyte control of murine CMV infection and require the activity of CD4+ T lymphocytes. The results presented here suggest that this activity is a function of Th1 cells. Neutralization of endogenous gamma interferon abrogated the antiviral activity of Th1 cells but not that of CD8+ T lymphocytes in other tissues. Neutralization of endogenous gamma interferon did not interfere with the induction of the cellular and humoral immune response but acted during the effector phase. Recombinant gamma interferon could not replace the function of Th1 cells in vivo and had limited direct antiviral activity in vitro. The results therefore suggest that gamma interferon represents one, but not the only, essential factor involved in salivary gland clearance, establishment of CMV latency, and, eventually, the control of horizontal transmission.

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