Is a lifetime of sequential viral infections detrimental or advantageous to the host? On-line this week in Nature Immunology, scientists show that pre-existing memory T cells specific for one type of virus can alter, for the better, the disease outcome following a later infection with an unrelated virus.
Liisa Selin and colleagues from the University of Massachusetts Medical School have found that T cells that specifically detect and kill mouse cells infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV) virus were re-activated when mice were infected with vaccinia virus. The presence of these pre-exisiting LCMV-specific memory T cells correlated with a more rapid clearance of vaccinia virus from the mice, decreased mortality and dramatic changes in pathology. Clearly, at least in the case of these two viruses, sequential infections can be advantageous for the host.
Liisa K. Selin
Dept of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, USA
Tel: +1 508 856 3039
Additional contact for comment on paper:
Rodney E. Phillips
Nuffield Dept of Clinical Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK
Tel: +44 1865 221338
(C) Nature Immunology press release.
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