In the spleens of C57BL/6J (B6) and CBA/J (CBA) mice undergoing acute infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) virus, lymphocytes with the ability to develop in vitro into LCM virus‐specific cytolytic clones were enumerated by use of the limiting dilution method. At intervals after virus inoculation, defined numbers of cells were cultivated with virus‐infected syngeneic stimulator cells and T cell growth factor in multiple wells of microculture plates. After 7 days, individual cell cultures were tested for their ability to cause release of 51Cr from infected and uninfected syngeneic target cells. In cultures seeded with spleen cells from uninfected mice or from mice infected 3 days previously, no cytolytic activity was observed. On day 5, cells developing into LCM virus‐specific cytolytic effector cells were detected. They rose in numbers, and on days 8 to 9 after infection, values of approximately 1/10 and 1/200 in B6 and CBA mice, respectively, were calculated. A low proportion of micro‐cultures proved cytolytic also for noninfected syngeneic target cells, but the counts thus released were consistently much lower than the counts set free from infected targets, and no regular dose‐response relationships existed between seeded cells and positive cultures. Determination of cell surface antigens of responder cells by negative and positive selection procedures disclosed that they were predominantly T lymphocytes and expressed Lyt‐2 but not L3T4 surface markers. Lysis by the great majority of LCM virus‐specific clones was restricted by products of the major histocompatibility gene complex (MHC), but a few lysed, in addition, allogeneic infected or uninfected targets; however, a consistent pattern of alloreactivity was not observed. Furthermore, cells of a proportion of the cultures also lysed uninfected YAC cells. Probably this natural killer‐like activity was acquired by T lymphocytes during prolonged cultivation. We conclude that most spleen cells that during acute infection with LCM virus attained the ability to develop in vitro into LCM virus‐specific cytolytic clones were derived from MHC‐restricted Lyt‐2+, L3T4− antigen‐specific cytolytic T lymphocytes and their activated precursors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy