The antiviral responses in mice to intranasal inoculation with Sendai virus are described. To investigate the relative importance of the humoral, cell-mediated and interferon responses, the pathogenesis of this infection was studied in animals which were immunocompetent, T cell-deprived or immunosuppressed with cyclophosphamide. Treatment with cyclophosphamide converted the mild, self-limiting infection observed in immunocompetent mice into a severe and frequently lethal pneumonic disease. This was associated with an enhanced interferon response but not detectable antibody or cell-mediated immune response. T cell-deprived mice suffer an infection of intermediate severity associated with an increased interferon response, a normal humoral immune response and no cell-mediated immune response. The implications of these results in relation to the role of the antiviral responses in recovery from Sendai virus infection are discussed.


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