Bovine leukosis virus (BLV) is associated with the disease complex enzootic bovine leukosis. The infection may remain clinically silent in the form of an aleukaemic state or emerge as a persistent lymphocytosis and more rarely as lymphosacroma. BLV has been considered classically to be a B lymphotropic virus, based upon the absolute increase in B lymphocytes in persistent lymphocytosis, the B lymphocyte phenotype of a majority of the cells making up lymphosarcomas and the identification of viral antigen expressed in B lymphocytes following culture of peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes. This association of BLV with B lymphocytes is well established but the mechanism(s) of disease expression is not defined. To examine further the cellular tropism(s) of BLV, T lymphocyte subpopulations from 10 lymphocytotic cattle were established . Lymphocyte cultures were characterized by their subpopulation phenotype and DNA was extracted for identification of integrated provirus by Southern blot hybridization. Provirus was identified in T lymphocyte cultures derived from seven of 10 lymphocytotic cattle, with both T helper and T cytotoxic/suppressor subpopulations affected.


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