Swiss mice were injected intraperitoneally with uninfected or human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infected human U937 cells. At 6 days, no residual human cells were detected in mouse tissues as determined by PCR analysis of DNAs from injected mice using primers and probes for the human HLA-DQ alpha gene. At 6 to 12 months, approximately 60% of the HIV-1-injected mice had antibodies to HIV-1 gp 120 and gp41 proteins. Fifteen percent of the animals showed evidence of HIV-1 infection as determined by PCR analyses of DNA from peripheral blood leukocytes and by hybridization for detection of HIV-1 mRNA in peritoneal cells. In this set of experiments, spleen cells from mice sacrificed at different times after injection were cultured for 48 h in the presence or absence of mitogens [i.e.: concanavalin (Con A) or anti-CD3 antibody] and then tested for lymphocyte proliferation. At 10 to 12 months, splenocytes from approximately 80% of Swiss mice injected with HIV-1-infected U937 cells exhibited a marked defect in their proliferative response to Con A or anti-CD3 antibody as compared with spleen cells from both uninjected or U937 cell-injected mice. Similar results were obtained at 12 months in C3H/HeJ mice. Non-responding spleen cells from HIV-1-injected Swiss mice did not proliferate in response to anti-CD3 antibody even in the presence of co-stimulatory molecules such as phorbol myristate acetate or anti-CD28 antibody. Splenocytes from these mice also exhibited an impaired capacity to produce interferon-γ and interleukin-4 after mitogen stimulation. No T cell defects were observed in control-injected mice. Immunofluorescence analyses revealed a significant decrease in the percentage of both CD4 and CD8 spleen cells in HIV-1-injected mice. These data indicate that immunocompetent mice can be used to investigate some HIV-1-related immune dysfunctions .


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