The immune response to foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) elicited by infection or immunization with inactivated virus in adult mice was examined. A model of adoptive transfer of immunocompetent cells was used for this purpose. The results presented here indicate that both short- and long-term secondary immune responses elicited by high doses of inactivated virus are indistinguishable, at the humoral or cellular level, from that observed after infection. The responses to inactivated or infectious virus were both efficiently mediated by B cells. However, immunization with low doses of inactivated virus induced a response which, although effective in aborting infection, was fully dependent on FMDV-specific T cell cooperation. These findings suggest that the different immune responses observed after infection and immunization are mainly the result of the different viral mass presented to the immune system in each case.


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