Enhancement of yellow fever virus neurovirulence for mice by specific antibody was studied with the French neurotropic vaccine strain. Experimental conditions for enhancement required mice between 14 and 40 days old and intraperitoneal administration of a selected monoclonal antibody 24 h before or up to 72 h after intracerebral virus challenge. Virus infectivity titrations were similar in brains of antibody-treated and untreated mice. Virus recovered from brains of mice with enhanced viral infections was neither qualitatively nor quantitatively different from standard virus. Humoral immune responses in enhanced infections were normal, macrophages did not become infected and viraemia was not significant. Both hydrocortisone treatment and complement depletion with cobra venom resulted in prolongation of mouse survival times but virulence enhancement persisted. Anti-thymocyte serum had no effect on enhancement although it reduced the humoral immune response. It is proposed that virulence enhancement is due to the combined effects of virus-specific antibody on infected cells, complement-mediated cytolysis and resultant host anti-cellular activity. There is no analogy between mechanisms effecting increased arbovirus growth in the presence of specific antibody and increased yellow fever virus neurovirulence after parenteral administration of antibody.


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