Mouse hepatitis viruses (MHV) diversely affect immune responses, depending on the viral strain and the mouse genetic background. Here, we studied the effect of MHV-A59 infection on B cell responses of 129/Sv and CBA mice. Our results indicate that in these strains, MHV-A59 induces spleen cell activation that leads to enlargement of the spleen without structural alteration. Infection triggers production by B lymphocytes of large amounts of immunoglobulin G2a, mostly without viral specificity. This polyclonal immunoglobulin production is dependent on the presence of functional T helper cells. This polyclonal B lymphocyte activation induced by MHV-A59 infection can have pathological implications, such as the enhancement of concomitant autoimmune reactions.


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